Broken Down Film by Osamu Tezuka


Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka directed a handful of short films throughout his career in which he used a reduced running time to try things that might not work so well at feature length. The shorts are often labelled “experimental”, which some of them are, although the term “playful” would be a better description for others. Broken Down Film (1985) is one of the latter, a Fleisher-like silent Western with a trio of stock characters and a stereotyped narrative that includes a gunfight (almost), and a heroine tied to a rail track. The playfulness is in the presentation which imitates all the material problems that can afflict a reel of film, from projection mishaps to various forms of damage, some of which impinge themselves on the characters. Tex Avery occasionally played with the medium in this way (I think it’s one of the Droopy cartoons where a character runs off the edge of the film) but even Avery never took things this far. The uncredited music, by the way, is Snake Rag by King Oliver’s Jazz Band.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Jumping, a film by Osamu Tezuka