Consuming Spirits

Dir: Chris Sullivan, US 2012, 136 mins

Cert: 15

Every year there is a film that we pursue doggedly because we can’t imagine the festival without it, and this year Consuming Spirits is the one. The making-of story (14 years of painstaking self-funded production, animating frame by frame on 16mm) is impressive enough, and because he put in so many hours Chris Sullivan has built a small rust-belt town with such a level of detail that you feel you know the place inside out by the end. But what’s really striking about the film is the melancholy grandeur it creates from apparently small, dead-end lives, the past creeping in like a fog as the three protagonists confront their secrets.

“There’s a billboard depicted in Chris Sullivan’s animated wonder Consuming Spirits advertising beer that promises ‘the taste that haunts the lips.’ The same goes for the film. You’ve likely never tasted anything quite like it. Dense like a detailed graphic novel in the Chris Ware or Robert Crumb vein.”
- Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune.

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