Covered in Fleas

©1988

4.5 minutes

16mm color animation

 

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Covered in Fleas traces an hour in the life of Lulu, a neurotic, urban everywoman. After a harrowing walk home from work, Lulu returns to her apartment, where unemployed boyfriend J.J. watches TV. They argue, J.J. walks out and Lulu is left to contemplate matters as best as she knows how.

The film contrasts Lulu’s sense of helplessness in situations beyond her control with situations in which she feels victimized but plays and active role. She is unable to differentiate.

The strongly colored drawings move from realistic renderings to gross distortions. The characters speak their mundane dialogue in strange, high-pitched cartoon voices. Combined, these elements intensify the ordinary situation, giving it a surreal, claustrophobic feeling. The overall tone is one of humor, mixed with hopelessness and despair. At the film’s tensest moments, the characters and incidents are stretched in cartoon fashion beyond everyday life: they become violent, vivid, dreamlike, metamorphosing out of themselves and back again.

 

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