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Keep it in Motion - Classic Animation Revisited: 'Fantastic Person'

Every Thursday, Chris Robinson takes a look at films from animation’s past. This week screens Candy Guard's hilariously snippy, Fantastic Person (1991)

Oh how I miss the films of UK animator and writer, Candy Guard (Pond Life). I can recall her work from my early years at the OIAF. They were such a welcome tonic against the predominance of earnest works that overwhelmed the animation scene then – and now.

Remember that Little Rascals episode when Spanky and Alfalfa skipped school. They couldn't think of anything to do and end up doing nothing all day. Then Wheezer strolls by on his way from school. He tells them that “anxiety is the dizziness of freedom”, winks and walks away. Then Alfalfa snaps, loses his fucking mind and chases the startled Wheezer down the street, eventually catching and beating him while shouting, “Yes, but anxiety brings home the lesson that I cannot look to others, to the crowd, when I want to measure my progress in becoming a full human being.”

You don’t remember that one? I’m talking original Rascals, not the new crap. Hmm… maybe it was unaired episode.

Anyway, the words of poor Wheezer certainly apply to Candy Guard’s 1991 film, Fantastic Person, a blistering parody of a delusional and bored woman who loafs around her disheveled apartment drinking, dancing, and watching TV while developing a series of absolutely unrealistic life plans that will completely and utterly change her life for the better, tomorrow.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. It’s always tomorrow. It’s the symptom of a restless society unable to embrace and enjoy the still of the moment.

As Darla told poor bloodied and distraught Wheezer later in the episode, “Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, dear Wheezer, is the essence of all philosophy and with it, existence.”

Feeling the weight of the world lifted from his being, Wheezer rises, dusts himself off, and smiles the smile of all smiles: the smile of liberation.

I like to believe that the ‘fantastic person’ has reached a similar realization when she awakens, looks at her list, adjusts it, and then goes back to sleep.

Regret, it can wait until tomorrow.

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

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