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Keep it in Motion: Classic Animation Revisited - Phil Mulloy's 'The Chain'

Each week AWN’s Chris Robinson takes a look at films from animation’s past.  This week he takes a look at a short and timely film from the always biting and controversial Phil Mulloy.

Given the events of November 8, 2016 in the U.S.A, it felt like a good time for a Phil Mulloy film.

In The Chain, Mulloy shows us that the systems we’ve inherited stem from a history of ignorance, miscommunication and greed. An uncaring parent discards a child’s drawing. A street drunk picks up the drawing and mistakes it for a treasure map. Soon everyone wants the map and world leaders are rallying troops to find the treasure. The drunk digs his way down a hole but his people, fed up, revolt and bury him. There is celebration, peace, and joy until a hungover man stumbles across a piece of a paper that looks like a treasure map….and it the cycle starts again.

The Chain is at once a ferocious denunciation of religious and political greed, and the mass killing it begets in the name of peace and love. What elevates The Chain from mere rant is his awareness of the complexities behind these systems. With strong Hegelian echoes, the final scene suggests that humanity will never learn from history and will keep making the same costly mistakes.

To watch The Chain on Mulloy's site click on the image below: 


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.