We’re stuck at home, obsessing about the news, worrying about our families, worrying about our job situation. We need a break! So every day, our writers will share a short film, a scene, an inexplicable clip that they love. We hope you’ll enjoy it, too.
“We’re going to have a little fun with this … to let you know that … they all work together … when you put ’em together … and as long as you … groooove.”
That is Bernard Purdie demonstrating his drumming technique. If all instructors could be as inspirational, remote leaning would go down a lot easier.
Purdie is among the single most influential session players of the past half-century. He helped make “Rock Steady” one of Aretha Franklin’s funkiest songs; he’s in her “Amazing Grace” concert, too. He has played on recordings by Steely Dan and James Brown, Hall & Oates and Nina Simone, Miles Davis and Joe Cocker; you may have heard him without knowing it, since many of his contributions have been uncredited.
His signature is the so-called Purdie Shuffle, which he dissects in this delightful video. “I’m going to explain it to you by playing it all,” he says. It’s tell-and-show of the highest order.
There are quite a few Purdie videos on YouTube, some with better production values, but this one is the most inspirational: Purdie, sitting contentedly behind his kit, sounds part-teacher, part-preacher. You may get the urge to engage in call and response at regular intervals.
In between chuckles — wouldn’t you be pleased, too, if you could do what he does? — he spits out rhythmic onomatopoeia and drags out his incantatory revelations. He grins contentedly, eyes half-shut.
And the entire time he keeps a metronomic heartbeat on the hi-hat — this guy has established permanent residence in the pocket — that makes the video hypnotic.
“Now! The big, big, big, big, big, big question: the triplet.” I have no clue about musical technique but I understand exactly what he means on a gut level because what he is letting us hear is the birth of the groove.
“Yeah!” he roars at the end, wriggling on his seat. “I liked that.”
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to know that a new wave of horror films is going to emerge from this awful time in an attempt — as horror does — to make sense of the unexplainable. Filmmakers will channel their own living-room solitude into movies about fears that evolved from our collective cabin fever. This will be especially true of at-home horror.
A sterling example of this kind of film — made before our present self-isolation — is the slyly sinister and very entertaining “Attic Panic.” Directed and shot by David F. Sandberg inside his own darkly-lit garret, it’s a ghost story about a woman (played by Sandberg’s wife and frequent collaborator, Lotta Losten) who has a chilling encounter with a sheet-covered entity. The setting is claustrophobic, and there’s an eerie stillness throughout, a great combination for a gem-sized horror story. The sounds of a turning light bulb and a woman’s gasp are the film’s macabre soundtrack. A spine-tingling twist at the end gives me the heebie-jeebies every time I watch it.
The film is an unnerving slow-burn in three minutes that’s best watched, as I have, with the lights off. Entirely gore-free, this one is especially worth a look if you’re drawn to it’s-coming-from-inside-the-house scares. (You can dive deeper with Sandberg’s fascinating making-of video.)
In childhood, those of us with delicate sensibilities may have fantasized about a line of toys that could cater to our tender souls, our vulnerable dreams and our will-o’-the-wisp personalities. These toys would have been especially meaningful instruments in confronting traditional gender norms. Thankfully, the folks at “Saturday Night Live” were able to make that dainty dream come true with Julio Torres and Jeremy Beiler’s “Wells for Boys” sketch, which imagines a Fisher-Price diversion for the most sensitive and contemplative boys on the playground.
The 2016 sketch, directed by Dave McCary, has a sense of humor that’s as perceptive and nonaggressive as the tone of its narrator’s voice, provided by Cecily Strong. There is charm in the identification with the boy, who is seen looking into a pool of water, his “heart full of questions”: “Some kids like to play; others just sort of … wait for adulthood.” The queer coding is clear, with its lead little boy an outsider by nature of his unconventional masculinity; but crucially, the sketch is never cruel toward him. The jokes are precise (Emma Stone as the mother whispers to her artistic son, “Do you want to go watch ‘Y Tu Mamá También’?”), but they are gentle, as if they come from a place of experience.
“Wells for Boys” also manages to satirize toy companies and their good-intentioned but misguided attempts at public displays of progressiveness. The last punchline cleverly indicates that it’s not the toys themselves that matter, but the space to express oneself. As some of us examine our current tools of expression, we may find ourselves looking deep into a basin, considering the complexity and meaning of being alive.
“I Love Alaska” is a letter to the void, a memoir cast into — and salvaged from — the depths of the internet.
In 2006, AOL published the search histories of more than 650, 000 users, spanning three months. “I Love Alaska,” a 13-part series by the Dutch artists Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug, pieces together the search queries of one such user, No. 711391, into a haunting portrait of a life. In each brief episode, a Siri-like voice reads the user’s queries out loud, its cold and monotonous cadence complemented by long, static shots of barren landscapes.
I thought of “I Love Alaska” recently when I was struck by how much of myself I’d been pouring into my phone during the COVID-19 quarantine. I type constantly and unthinkingly into Google every day, my queries ranging from recipes to intimate health, political and existential anxieties. A snapshot of these casual searches would offer a comprehensive tour of both the banalities of my daily life and the deepest corners of my subconscious.
In “I Love Alaska,” seemingly random, tossed-off searches soon cohere into shapes and patterns. User No. 711391 emerges as a middle-aged woman in Texas, dealing with wrenching insecurities, a fraying marriage and a fraught online affair. “How to kill annoying birds in your yards” she asks one day; a few days later, she’s wondering, “How many online romances lead to sex?” (Some queries are even more adult-themed.)
Being privy to these thoughts feels uncomfortable, a sensation compounded by the sound that opens each episode — the buzz of a camera zoom, evoking surveillance. It’s a good reminder that the internet is an abyss that does, indeed, gaze back at you.
The most unsettling thing about “I Love Alaska” is how User No. 711391’s queries take the form of both questions and fragmented, diaristic statements. “Did anyone ever tell you how proud of you they are?” she asks, followed by, “I am so proud of you.” I wonder if she was seeking answers, or whether all she desired was the algorithmic talkback of the search engine — the list of instant, echoed entries reassuring us that we’re not alone.
Being a parent is never easy, but as Gottfried Mentor’s goats will tell you, wordlessly, in “Head Up,” it doesn’t hurt to keep an open mind. That wisdom is especially true today, when the living room has become both workplace and schoolhouse, and the options for escape are limited.
At less than three minutes long, this 3-D computer-animated short, with its cutely subverted video-game landscape, will engage — and distract — even the youngest person in your household.
Mentor, a German filmmaker, wrote in an email that “Head Up” is “a bit for adults but mainly for kids.” He said, “I wanted to tell a story about little heroes to encourage the younger generation; they are great.” The key, he said, is the empathy the goats demonstrate, “learning from each other, or helping each other,” even though they have little in common.
In “Head Up,” the older goat tries to teach the bouncing kid some basics of safe locomotion, meeting the little one’s joyful disregard with patience. When obstacles appear, the older goat gently corrects the younger, until a barrier arises that baffles the grown-up. Challenges like these call for multigenerational solutions, and that’s where the kid steps in to try some new tricks. Like us, once they put their heads together, these two can leap over the rocks and stumps and sail over the abyss without fear.
If a mini-festival is in order, there is another very short family film online by Mentor, “Lambs,” which celebrates individualism over just being part of the herd. So, make some popcorn (separate bowls, if that makes you feel better) and indulge.
I’ve been craving some Warholian mischief during this ultra-serious moment, and this four-and-a-half-minute clip of the artist eating a hamburger at the Factory in 1981 does the trick. It comes from a short documentary made by the filmmaker Jorgen Leth titled “66 Scenes From America.” While watching it, you can almost pretend that Warhol is Zooming with you, alongside the rest of your co-workers.
The shot, captured in Warhol’s flat, uninflected style, was repurposed last year for a Burger King Super Bowl ad that kind of missed the point. The real behind-the-scenes story is more interesting (and more Andy): Leth’s assistant brought back three burger options, but nothing from McDonald’s, which Warhol told them he would have preferred, for the packaging design alone. Still, rather than waste time, he made do with the Whopper. This is functional eating, not eating for pleasure.
Is it pure pop disposability? Maybe not. I love hearing the sounds of Union Square just outside the window offscreen. (The Factory was in its third location by then, on the third floor of a Broadway building.) Watching how Warhol eats — wait for his finicky de-bunning and foldover — is to appreciate his behavior in a fairly specific way. The elbows on the table convey something childlike and insouciant at the same time. And his uncomfortable pause at the end, just before the self-identification, couldn’t be more perfect.
Visitors to the Whitney’s Warhol show last winter were confronted by this footage, projected on a wall. Many of us lingered at the sight, taking in the potent combination of familiarity, banality, celebrity and intimacy. When I dream about the city’s art life (even a city wracked by anxiety), it’s pretty much this.
Missing the ability to explore New York City? Let the White Stripes, the director Michel Gondry and 32 drum kits take you on an amplified journey around town.
The clip for the 2003 single “The Hardest Button to Button,” from the duo Jack and Meg White, is a masterful merging of the analog and the whimsical. It takes what we’ve seen a thousand times in music videos, a band lip-syncing with instruments, and explodes it with an inventive concept that could only seem to have come from Gondry’s playful imagination.
The song and the video start with the syncopated sound of the kick drum. But each time Meg hits the drum, a new one appears and she moves, via pixilation, a jump-cut, stop-motion look, down the row of drums with each beat. Jack sings and plays electric guitar as his amplifiers multiply. And as the song adds more elements from the drum kit (the snare first appears at the 1:08 mark), those items multiply each time they’re played as well.
This isn’t digital trickery with just one drum kit manipulated by visual effects in postproduction. Gondry and his crew actually acquired 32 identical drum kits and placed them on the sidewalks of New York, in city parks and in a PATH station weaving them in and out of empty train cars.
If you’re new to this video, the DIY approach may seem like a very elaborate TikTok, but you can feel the painstaking process in each new beat of the bass. The final result so intensely and succinctly matches music with image, that it’s impossible for me to hear this song without drum kits multiplying in my head.
Before pressing play, make your pet a promise. Jumpy the dog isn’t a critique of the tricks your beast can’t do. He’s an example of what they could, if their dormant genius was watered with attention and time, of which perhaps you currently have a surplus. (Though if your creature would rather zone out to a movie, no shame.)
Nearly 90 years ago when movie audiences were captivated by Rin Tin Tin and Asta, Henry R. East’s manual “How to Train Dogs for the Home, Stage and Moving Pictures” wrote, “We have, as yet, only tapped the dog’s intelligence.” Behavioral scientists and linguists have proven East right, supreme among them psychologist John W. Pilley who taught his Border collie Chaser more than 1000 nouns. But could Chaser water ski, razor scooter, back flip, walk on her hands or skateboard a 12-foot pipe?
Yet, in editing Jumpy’s highlight reel, the trainer Omar von Muller also seems most awed by his dog’s verbal fluency. “Go pee on mommy” might be a verboten command in your home, but it’s no wonder Jumpy was embraced by Hollywood, holding his own against Ethan Hawke and John Travolta in the western “In a Valley of Violence.” In one scene, a gust of wind knocked off Hawke’s hat, and Jumpy fetched it without breaking character. Improv!
One of the most thrilling moments of Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 breakthrough feature “Boogie Nights” is a triumphant musical montage that culminates in a big disco-dancing break. On the film’s audio commentary track, Anderson explains that, in blocking and shooting that scene, he set out to “obey the laws of good old-fashioned filming-a-dance-number musicals, which is see them from head to foot, most of the time.”
That commitment to the classics — the Busby Berkeley, Fred-and-Ginger, TCM-rotation black-and-white musical aesthetic — is part of what makes his videos for the power-pop trio Haim such a treat. Aside from the joy of the number and the charisma of the performers (all three sisters engage with the camera like full-on movie stars), his clip for “Little of Your Love” is noteworthy for the loosey-goosey freedom of the filmmaking.
In sharp contrast to music video norms, which use tight framing and hyper-caffeinated editing to cut the movements of even the most graceful and precise dancers into ribbons, Anderson leans heavily on wide shots and long takes, floating across the dance floor, shifting focus as the sisters trade vocals. When his stars and their backup dancers — perhaps too formal a term for what looks more like a bunch of friends hanging out in a dive bar on a sunny afternoon — move into a high-spirited line-dance, we’re given a clear view of the whole dance floor, so we can better appreciate not only how they move, but how they move together.
Over the course of his career, Anderson has directed intimate dramas, period pieces and stoner comedies. It’s probably too much to hope that one day he’ll direct a musical. But until he does, a YouTube playlist of his Haim videos will do just fine.
Chloe, “the queen of seventh grade,” makes her grand entrance. She waltzes into her junior high in slow motion, or perhaps she is magically gliding. Cue the Amps’ rousing “Tipp City” and the film’s credits.
On paper, this isn’t a particularly original start, yet in a minute or so, Sofia Coppola has created a distinctive universe.
Released in 1998 — two years before Coppola’s feature debut, “The Virgin Suicides” — the 14-minute-long “Lick the Star” has aged remarkably well, both on its own terms and as a prologue to a major director’s career.
Chloe (Audrey Heaven) roams the halls like a languid shark, followed by a posse of parasite fish, enthralled by her assured magnetism. She helps herself to a classmate’s tacos, sprays another with ketchup — this is six years before “Mean Girls,” mind you.
Inspired by the V.C. Andrews gothic teen-favorite novel “Flowers in the Attic,” Chloe plots to weaken some boys by giving them arsenic. The girls shop for rat poison to the tune of Free Kitten’s “Bouwerie Boy.” (Coppola’s unerring instinct for pairing rock songs and visuals, just as good as Quentin Tarantino’s, was already firmly in place.)
But when a comment about slavery is misheard through the grapevine, Chloe becomes a pariah.
Written by Coppola and Stephanie Hayman, “Lick the Star” was shot by the cinematographer Lance Acord (who would go on to work on the filmmaker’s “Lost in Translation” and “Marie Antoinette”) in a black and white so luscious, it feels simultaneously arid and moist. Peter Bogdanovich and Zoe Cassavetes pop up in cameos as the principal and P.E. teacher, but mostly we are plunged into an insular world, with rules and aesthetics very much their own. Chloe attempts suicide. Or maybe she’s just taking a very theatrical bath. It is all very matter of fact and very dramatic, like girlhood itself.
Just as the rock star is more or less a thing of the past, so too is the rock-star news conference. Groups or solo artists would fly into cities and be greeted by a throng of reporters; John Lennon would apologize for saying the Beatles were more popular than Jesus; and Mick Jagger would pronounce himself sexually satisfied, financially dissatisfied and philosophically trying.
Lou Reed’s August 1974 summit with members of the Sydney press, distilled into a five-minute laugh riot by an uncredited editor, is a perverse classic of the genre. At that point in his career the quintessential postmodern New York cult rocker was approaching something like mainstream success. Being Lou Reed, he then took every opportunity subvert that.
His hair is close-cropped in a Caesar cut and dyed blonde; he wears large, very dark shades. The footage of Reed’s mostly monosyllabic answers is intercut with snippets of his song “New York Telephone Conversation,” and the salient line may be “Am I even home?” In this period it was indeed often hard to tell.
A very earnest and concerned interviewer asks Reed about the themes of his songs. “Do you want people to take drugs themselves, is this perhaps why you sing about drugs?” “Oh yeah, I want ’em to take drugs,” Reed replies in his outerborough drawl. He really puts the dead in deadpan.
In the late days of Reed’s band the Velvet Underground, he could be cheerfully garrulous onstage. Years after this news conference, he did a tour in which his shows were as much insult comedy gigs as they were musical events.
Here Reed’s performance is sullen, but it’s also droll and enigmatic. It’s like he’s contriving a form of anti-charisma, and it’s funny, fascinating and cringe-inducing.
“You get bored, and you get fed up with looking at the same four walls,” observes a gorilla in Nick Park’s “Creature Comforts.” She’s grumbling about her cramped living space, a concrete cage in which she’s tallied her many days in captivity.
I feel her. The Claymation short, which won an Oscar nearly two decades ago, resonates anew in the social distancing era. As we take the necessary precautions, many of us are feeling cooped up, penned in, beginning to wonder: Has my apartment always been this dark? The ceilings this low?
“Creature Comforts” is a mockumentary of sorts, constructed to imitate a news segment in which an interviewer polls zoo animals about their living conditions. We meet a trio of polar bears, a couple of armadillos, a bale of turtles and, most memorably, a Brazilian puma yearning for the luxurious expanse of his homeland. Park prerecorded the interviews during sessions with ordinary folks in Britain, including residents of a nursing home and the family who ran Park’s corner shop. (The puma’s voice belonged to an expat Brazilian student sick of Bristol.)
The humor lies in the inspired pairings of voice and plasticine animal. A croaky, courteous elderly woman is brought to life in a bespectacled tarsier. A little girl reflecting on the circus becomes a candy-colored bird. Park, who went on to create the Wallace and Gromit films, animates each habitat with clever detail: giant hippo teats, an inexplicable bouncing beach ball. Their lodgings might not be as comfortable as the alternative, but there’s fun to be had.
When I heard on Friday of the passing of Bill Withers, I immediately flashed on the “Notting Hill” montage scored to “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
The 1999 rom-com is a film I return to again and again, even in good times. In part, it’s that the adventurous American movie star Anna (Julia Roberts) and the play-it-safe British bookshop owner William (Hugh Grant) hardly seem destined to get together.
But it’s also that the director, Roger Michell, and screenwriter, Richard Curtis, linger on unnecessary but delightful details. Do we need to see Spike, William’s gross but endearing flatmate, try on a series of highly inappropriate T-shirts for a date? Not really, but it fits with the shaggy storytelling.
By comparison, the montage following Anna’s abrupt departure is free of excess. The scene, less than two minutes long, could be a movie in and of itself. There’s no dialogue, no visible cuts as a bereft William walks through the Portobello Road market and summer turns to fall, winter to spring. As he strolls, other stories play out: his sister is hanging on a boyfriend in good weather and tearfully arguing with him a few seasons later. A customer who’s pregnant at the start has brought her baby to a flower stall at the end.
Through it all, William is largely seen in profile. How do we know he’s heartbroken? Withers, that’s how. “Ain’t No Sunshine” sets the rueful tone, both that feeling of longing and also the sense that there’s nothing to be done. But the song offers a measure of hope. “Any time she goes away,” he croons, suggesting that the woman he yearns for has left before and returned.
William emerges from his walk, if not restored, at least ready to carry on, acknowledging the new baby on his way out. Life goes on, the scene reminds us, and isn’t that reassuring right now?
Remember taking the subway? It’s strangely one of the things I miss most in quarantine, even though as a New Yorker, it is my duty and right to complain about the M.T.A. on the daily. I don’t miss the constant delays, but I do long for the people-watching, the sensation of sitting across from a stranger, locking eyes for a beat too long and letting the mind wander toward fantasies.
“Making Eyes,” the 2014 short from the video editor Sean Dunn, is about that kind of fleeting interaction one might share with a fellow commuter. The film begins at the West 4th Street station. Jay, a man on his way to his office job, takes notice of a bespectacled brunette, who returns his glance with an impish smile. Cut, abruptly, to that night: Jay in bed, wide-awake and lost in thought.
Shot on a dimension-flattening camera, “Making Eyes” makes droll, home video-like observations on awkward interactions. It’s unclear what Jay actually does for a living except perform his single-trick impression of Don Draper from “Mad Men” for his co-workers.
Pulling from a dryly hilarious amalgam of commonplace New York experiences, Dunn uncomfortably zooms into hands and faces, perversely dramatizing these mundane moments. Jay’s misunderstanding of their chemistry is affirmed when after repeated eye-making, he follows his subway crush into a bodega and she fails to register who he is. Surprisingly receptive to his advances, the woman invites Jay to a friend’s house party; there, even more awkwardness, “Mad Men” impressions and unexpected connections arise. In times of isolation, a prosaic N.Y.C. short can feel so achingly nostalgic.
“In order to criticize a movie, you have to make another movie,” Jean-Luc Godard once declared. With “The Spielberg Face,” Kevin B. Lee ups the ante, analyzing an entire oeuvre in less than 10 minutes.
The master of the desktop video essay, Lee samples and annotates close-ups from at least a dozen Spielberg films. His point: Steven Spielberg’s trademark, typically emphasized by a slow dolly-in, is a distinctive reaction shot. It shows what Lee describes as an expression of wide-eyed, wordless wonder, a “childlike surrender to the act of watching” — as though seeing a movie for the first time. The effect of seeing so many of these close-ups cascading one after another is heady and hilarious.
Lee traces the use of expressive close-ups back to D.W. Griffith and Carl Dreyer (whose “Passion of Joan of Arc” consisted mainly of the actress Maria Falconetti’s countenance). In general, reaction shots, like movie music, are designed to cue an audience. The Spielberg Face is not only meant to prompt but also mirror the spectator. Lee notes that Spielberg discovered his signature effect in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” — a “symphony of Spielberg faces” in which it occurs 30 times. “Jurassic Park,” the technological marvel that put C.G.I. cinema on the map, would seem a close second. There, however, wonderment gives way to fear.
As the Face became a cliché, Spielberg varied his strategy. Lee points out that in “War of the Worlds” and “Munich,” the Face was used to convey trauma. Still, the most radical instance of Spielberg Face-ness is “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” Here, the Face is the default expression of an adoring, adorable robot child and, with poignant megalomania, proves eternal — the last legacy of the human race.
I kept myself sane after 9/11 by devouring reruns of the ’80s game show “Press Your Luck” — the mantra “Big bucks, no Whammies!” helped me stay calm. Amid our latest global crisis, I’ve turned to repeats of “Match Game” from the ’70s, and they make me feel like I’m home from elementary school watching TV on a sick day, not self-quarantined during a pandemic.
Everything I adore about “Match Game” can be relished in this five-minute clip from a 1977 episode, including a surreal question about King Kong sitting on a pony, the panelist Brett Somers’s batty digression about how the “Chorus Line” co-author James Kirkwood should be booked as a guest, and comrade Charles Nelson Reilly wearing a wacky cap and puffing on a pipe. But the bizarro climax begins halfway through when another of the show’s regulars, Richard Dawson, loses his cool while trying to convince the judges they should give him credit for what he meant to write as an answer, not what he actually wrote.
Dawson, who explains he was up all night appearing on a telethon and must be “punchy,” cycles through anger, pleading, self-pity and threats. At one point, the “Hogan’s Heroes” veteran grabs host Gene Rayburn’s customary skinny microphone and curses the judges for their unjust ruling.
The show descends into anarchy as the producers taunt Dawson with buzzers and other agitating sound effects, and he starts to walk off the set, declaring himself “obviously all washed up.” Perhaps his apparent willingness to quit can be attributed to the fact that Dawson had already started hosting another, ultimately higher-rated game show, “Family Feud.”
In any case, the clip remains riveting and — in “Match Game” parlance — crazy as a “blank.”
Worst. Satanists. Ever.
That’s the tagline for “Born Again,” a wickedly playful short about incompetent devil worshipers who bumble through a summoning of their dark master. The film hits the trifecta of short form horror-comedy: It’s funny, it’s gory and it’s not even seven minutes.
As the film opens, everything is in place for the arrival of evil incarnate. A pregnant woman groans in labor with a pentagram on the floor before her. She’s surrounded by Satanist disciples — named Zahguhrim, Marduk and Aranunna — decked out in voluminous robes and elaborate masks.
Here’s the problem: Greg, the fourth member of their cabal, is late with the ritual scripture and, well, isn’t great at Satanism. When the group’s wicked messiah finally arrives, let’s just say it comes as a hell of a surprise.
What’s great about “Born Again” is that the director, Jason Tostevin, shows a shrewd sense of comedy and timing, and his sharp ensemble of actors makes it click. To keep horror fans happy, there’s buffoonish blood and guts and a dash of blasphemy. Kudos to the special effects designer Shane Howard for making a mess on a dime. As for the story, I hope actual Satanists have a sense of humor.
The experimental filmmaker Jodie Mack is secretly one of the best directors of musicals working today, with prism-paletted stop-motion animation collages set to the sounds of Skype ringtones or her own original music. One of my favorite professors introduced me to her work in college, including this 2016 short “Curses,” a quasi-music video for the bedroom pop band Roommate.
Rather than jumping immediately into her animation, she moves languidly and dreamlike from falling confetti bits, shot horizontally like a river stream of remnants of a birthday party, to her marble printed paper, snipped and pruned, various shades layered one on top of the other.
Mack’s filmmaking and editing to music and sound aren’t overly presentational, but feel organic, as if her images and audio are inextricably finding natural and symbiotic rhythms in one another. Her relationship to music and picture dazzles without showiness.
In “Curses,” there’s whimsy, frivolity and a simple challenge to the viewer to be carried along by color and sound. Mack’s work is special because it finds a complexity in emotion — ebullience, subtle melancholy, even thrill — in deceptively simple animations (though the work obviously requires a lot of labor on Mack’s part).
In these gorgeous abstractions, you can see or imagine hands touching, bodies flailing, the silhouettes of people dancing, and finally, two people running to one another as if they’re floating on a gentle, multicolored fantasy.