Thursday, 21 July 2011

Marx for Beginners

Marx for Beginners is a 1978 short film made by Cucumber Studios and Bob Godfrey's Movie Emporium. As far as I can tell it was Cucumber's first film, and is very different from the music videos which that studio became known for; the Bob Godfrey influence is stronger. The Readers and Writers Publishing Cooperative produced the short.

Perhaps befitting its theme the film's credits (which include some surprising names - Erica Russel, for one) do not identify a single director; all of the animators are placed in equal standing. However, Denis Gifford names Clive Morton and Kevin Attew - the first two names listed in the credits - as directors.

The short is one of those trip-through-the-ages cartoons (like Bruno Bozzetto's Grasshoppers, and Derek Phillips' A Passing Phase) made from, as its name suggests, a Marxist point of view. the film also contains an implied feminist criticism of Marxism, however: at various points a woman asks "what about me?" only to be put down by a male character. Even after the working class uprising at the end of the short she is still asking the same question, now with no-one answering at all...

R. Crumb's character Mr. Natural puts in a cameo, portraying Leonardo da Vinci, of all people.

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