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Cheatin’

Canadian Premiere
  • USA
  • 2013
  • 76 mins
  • DCP
  • English
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Hosted by Director Bill Plympton

WINNER: Jury Prize, Annecy Festival 2014
WINNER: Best Animated Feature, Gijún International Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, Slamdance Film Festival 2014

“An energetic romp… with distinctive, freewheeling visual imagination on giddy display” – Dennis Harvey, VARIETY

“Pleasingly old-school stuff that harks back to older, non-realist, countercultural schools of cartooning” – Leslie Felperin, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Self-absorbed bookworm Ella may not be paying much attention to the folks around her at the local fun-fair, but you can bet that every man’s eyes are one her. Cajoled into a spin on the bumper-car ride, though, she literally collides with muscle-bound ladies’ man Jake. It’s love — and lust — at first bump. Soon enough the pair are joyfully wed, and bumping and grinding their nights away. Such righteous romantic bliss, however, can’t last forever, not with so many other smitten dames scheming to make Jake theirs. One underhanded hussy frames Ella as a cuckolding tramp, rupturing the happy household. Jake drowns his sorrows is rebound sex galore, while Ella plots her own revenge, answering heartbreak with the hiring of a hapless hitman. It’s a complicated situation, see, and that’s before Ella crosses paths with El Muerto, a stage magician with a mysterious soul-transferal machine…

No stranger to Fantasia, Bill Plympton, the Oscar-nominated one-man army of American indie animation, returns with his first feature in five years. All his hallmarks are here — ribald gags and goofball grotesqueries, precision comedic timing and smirking insight into what makes people tick, and of course his loose and lively hand-drawn artwork, seemingly carefree yet masterfully controlled. Tipping his fedora a touch to film noir and romantic revenge thrillers, Plympton delivers a screwball sex-farce cartoon for more-or-less-grown-ups. Dispensing with dialogue other than grunts, sighs and such, he allows much of his tale to be evoked through a marvelously effective musical score by France’s Nicole Renaud (her decidedly Gallic stylings add a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to the prurient proceedings).

With the crowdfunded CHEATIN’, his tenth feature film (self-described as a “love story gone wrong”), Bill Plympton adds another gem to a filmography that includes such standouts as THE TUNE, HAIR HIGH and I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON. Follow your hearts to Fantasia for this one, folks, because you’re only cheating yourselves if you miss out!

— Rupert Bottenberg

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