Ten Thousand Pictures Of You


All films, short and long, require a lot of time and effort. Yes, even the bad ones like Jonah Hex. However, we often forget this as we become immersed in the story, and the hours, days, months and even years, that have gone into the picture dissolve on the screen, leaving us to focus on the artistic achievement without distraction. If we watch a film, look at a picture, or listen to a piece of music, and spend the time thinking “wow, what a ball-ache that must have been! I can’t imagine how painstaking it was produce” then we’re kind of missing the point. The message is being obscured by the medium, and we start to focus on the technical ability over artistic expression. It becomes more about craft than art. It’s the difference between a photorealistic painting and say, Picasso’s Guernica. Both are impressive and admirable, but one is just a display of technical ability, the other is unique and rare artistic expression that speaks to something higher.

This is the problem I have with pixilation, the technique used in Ten Thousand Pictures of You. It is a type of stop-motion animation where live-action actors and surroundings are repeatedly captured in stills, sometimes mixed with more traditional illustrative or model animations, then stitched together to create momentum and hence, a film. The transition to digital cameras and the improvement of editing software has made the process marginally less laborious, but you can’t escape the fact that you need to take TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PICTURES! These then have to be sorted, edited together, corrected and so on. The kind of blood-weepingly tedious work that would have been given to small children in workhouses to do, in centuries gone by.

The whole film is undeniably impressive as an example of this pixilation technique, but as I started watching the film I couldn’t help but focus on the technical achievement as opposed to the story, constantly thinking; how long did that take? How many takes was that? How much prep went in to that? Blimey, that’s clever! But surprisingly, as the film developed and the effect was stretched to what seemed almost like a breaking point, the focus shifts from the pixilation effect, and to the actual story.

At the beginning of the film we are quite firmly in the real world, with a fairly standard string of events occurring. During this, the style of the film, the jerky uncanny movement of the actors and the world around them, is disconcerting and almost incongruous. Fears start to creep in that this is just an example of someone shouting “hey, look at my wrist-slittingly work-intensive filming style. Look how much I hate my free time and sanity”. But then the film takes a turn for the surreal, as the physical laws of the world around the characters are bent and broken, flipping and transporting them to other plains; pictures, magazines, t-shirts, cards. The film begins to twist into a farcical, surreal, nightmare, and it’s at this point where it begins to shine, as the style of filming and the substance of the story become married and start to compliment rather than detract from each other.

In the end Ten Thousand Pictures of You proves to be a rare example of pixilation, where the viewer is left thinking as much, if not more, about the themes of the piece, as they are about the fascinating technique used to tell it.


About Author

David Price is the editor of Gorilla Film Online and co-writer/co-producer of MarsCorp and The Bunker podcasts. He has made a number of short films and has watched more than 12 feature films. Writers/con-artists can contact him at daveprice at gorillafilmmagazine.com

Leave A Reply

8 + 16 =