Now Streaming in Austin: It's Such a Beautiful Day
Don Hertzfeldt offers his incredible animated feature for free
By Richard Whittaker,
12:35PM, Mon. Apr. 6, 2020
Welcome to Now Streaming in Austin, highlighting locally made titles to watch while self-quarantining. As everyone is stuck at home, several local filmmakers have placed their movies online for free as their way of helping. Add the (in his words) two-time Oscar-losing Don Hertzfeldt to that list.
The animator tweeted, "while we're all locked indoors wondering how bad things will get, it's such a beautiful day will be available to stream around the world for free" – and he even included a link with a coupon for a 24-hour rental.
Originally released as three shorts (2006's Sundance award-winning "Everything Will Be OK," 2008's "I Am So Proud of You," and 2011's "It's Such a Beautiful Day"), the hourlong animated story dips into the inner monologue – as narrated by Hertzfeldt himself – of Bill. He's simply a man that has undergone a very Hertzfeldtian revelation: that we are all, as Bill sees it, just a "frightened, fragile brain stem, surrounded by meat and physics."
Bill has more to worry about than most: he's suffering with an unnamed affliction that sees him sporadically hospitalized and constantly delusional. All of this is caught in Hertzfeldt's signature stick-figure style that both disguises and clarifies the incredible emotional depth of his stories. In the wild tumbling of memories and moments in Bill's world – where a terminal diagnosis is given as much importance as changing your mind about having toast, and the shifting pitch of a man cleaning the sidewalk with a leaf blower is as artful as classical music. There are no diversions since everything adds together somehow, whether it's Bill's hallucinations or a long sequence of hidden family history.
For animation fans, it's a feast of style and innovation, his simplistic drawing style counterbalanced by complicated in-camera effects, and images composed of a series of juxtaposed images within clouds and bubbles. This was a turning point for Hertzfeldt, his last film shot on a 35mm rostrum camera before he shifted to CG for his 2016 Oscar-nominated short "World of Tomorrow." But for those of you who only know him from that wildly-lauded work (or his seminal absurdist wonder "Rejected"), it has the same combination of the ridiculous and the incisive, with a final twist into how we need stories.
You can find out more about Hertzfeldt, and discover more of his utterly unique work, at www.bitterfilms.com.
It's Such a Beautiful Day
• Vimeo (link)