A hypocritical swinging college student cat raises hell in a satiric vision of various elements on the 1960s.A hypocritical swinging college student cat raises hell in a satiric vision of various elements on the 1960s.A hypocritical swinging college student cat raises hell in a satiric vision of various elements on the 1960s.
Happy Times - Heavy Times
That is how the 1960s were described by the narrator in the beginning of this film. Fritz the Cat is a famous movie for a number of reasons, most stemming from it being the first feature-length adult cartoon and having an "X" rating. There were controversies surrounding its creation with director Ralph Bakshi and character creator Robert Crumb. The film is like nothing I have ever seen before. It has a unique animation process that makes everything reek seediness, despair, and cry for social change. Bakshi wrote the script which really is nothing more than the knife that cuts through all the 60's BS - from existentialism to the drug culture to the love generation to African-American perspectives to militancy. Nothing is spared as the counterculture is laid bared and examined through the eyes, ears, fears, and desires of Fritz the Cat. Along the way, Fritz experiments with just about anything - including lots of sex, drugs, and sex. While the film definitely is quite vulgar in many ways with some of the most odious characterizations of otherwise cute and cuddly animals and depicting lots of strong sexual situations(though in no way deserving the "X" by today's standards), Fritz the Cat is also an intelligent look at one character's drive to find himself and meaning in his life - perhaps a symbol for the whole decade the film is examining. The end result is nothing conclusive - also perhaps a symbol. Bakshi's script is in some ways profound and thought-provoking and in some ways infantile and vile - his obvious dislike of police just one example. But what had my attention more than anything else was the animation - particularly in exterior shots not containing characters. There is one scene where the slums of Harlem are integral to the story. Bakshi uses his camera to zoom in on quite an impressive animated background shot of a field lost amongst the slums of Harlem. It is the very essence of seedy existence in an uncaring world. There are many other shots too that have that same power, but let's not forget that even with the intelligent at times script and the animation, much of Fritz the Cat is used solely to arouse - either arouse some primal feelings or arouse offense. A landmark film at any rate whether for good or for bad.
- Jun 30, 2006
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