Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Ralph Bakshi

Today is Ralph Bakshi's 71st birthday. Below is a publicity pamphlet that accompanied the release of Heavy Traffic. I still feel that Traffic is Bakshi's most satisfying film and one that pointed in a direction that too few have followed. Persepolis may be the only animated film I can think of that's similar.

Note that the film was rated X at the time of release. Current versions are rated R, though I have no memory of what's been cut. Regardless of the rating, what makes the film groundbreaking for me is the combination of cartoony designs and realistic emotions. Besides breaking animation's family friendly stereotype, Bakshi also showed how much more a cartoon was capable of.

Most of the film is on YouTube. One part is missing, and I suspect that it's the Maybelline sequence that Mark Kausler animated, as there is some explicit sexual content there. The film is also available on DVD for $10 U.S. It's not a great transfer, but the film is worth seeing in any condition.

(Click to enlarge.)

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