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Western Animation / Affairs of the Art

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Affairs of the Art is a 2021 short film directed by Joanna Quinn and produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

It's the fourth cartoon from Quinn (and writer Les Mills) to feature an extremely talkative protagonist named Beryl. In this one, Beryl is addressing the camera directly, talking about her family and her life. Beryl, a frustrated artist stuck working in a factory, talks mostly about her weird sister Beverly. When they were children, Beverly had a weird habit of collecting bugs, and then, when the bugs died, burying them in tiny little raisin box coffins. That was just the start of Beverly's oddball habits, though; she tortured her friend's pet mouse by putting the mouse on a toy train and continually crashing the train, she wore earrings made of dead wasps, she got into taxidermy and stuffed the family dog...oh, and also she was fixated on touching her grandma's dead body and dreamed of seeing Lenin in his mausoleum. In general, Beverly is just obsessed with death.


Along the way Beryl talks about her weird grandma who preserved animal body parts and her weird son Colin who is obsessed with screws. She however is not cognizant of her own weirdness.


  • Basement-Dweller: Colin is 38 years old, is weird and may be on the autism spectrum, and still lives with Beryl. Beryl isn't happy about this.
  • Cats Are Mean: A neighborhood cat kills Colin's pet pigeon. Colin rigs up his own crossbow and shoots and kills the cat in revenge.
  • Distant Finale: Audio dialogue heard over the end credits features Beryl being interviewed by a reporter, indicating that she finally hit it big as an artist.
  • Friend to Bugs: Beverly the little weirdo kept bugs in a jar and gave them funerals when they died.
  • Gold Digger: Beryl reveals that Beverly went to America and got rich by getting alimony from a series of rich husbands.
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  • Hitler Cam: Shots from coffin level of the poor unfortunate animals that Beverly buries in the backyard, as the children throw dirt on the "coffins".
  • Hypocritical Humor: Beryl says of her sister, "She was quite weird, though," as Beryl is naked and painting herself blue. She then belly-flops onto a blank canvas for a "self-portrait", all while talking about how weird Beverly is.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Beverly, being obsessed with death and taxidermy, fixates on Roy Rogers's horse Trigger, which was stuffed. Her father says "She's bloody Trigger-happy!"
  • Line Boil: A hand-drawn animated style that deliberately invokes line boil. Also, the opening title comes up with "AFFAIRS OF THE" printed, but "ART" hand-drawn and boiling.
  • Naked People Are Funny: A Running Gag.
    • Beryl's comment about the many plastic surgeries and "body sculpting" Beverly has undergone is accompanied by animation showing Beverly's body expanding and contracting like boiling water as she gets her breasts enhanced and her butt reduced and the like.
    • Beryl strips nude, paints herself blue, and then flops down onto a canvas for a "self-portrait".
    • Beryl tries to fit her large but sagging breasts (she's 59 and overweight) into an uplifting bra, which turns out to be a disastrous failure.
    • And then there's her poor fat husband, who keeps having to strip nude to model for Beverly's art. Like when she wants to draw a "nude descending a staircase," which requires her husband to make repeated Staircase Tumbles.
  • Narrator: Beryl, addressing the camera directly, talking about her life.
  • No Fourth Wall: Beryl speaks directly to the camera.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: A depressed Beryl calls her sister for moral support, and Beverly, lounging by a pool in LA in a bikini, urges Beryl to follow her dreams.
  • Staircase Tumble: Beryl makes her husband do this repeatedly, while he's naked no less, so she can paint him.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy: Beverly's obsession with death leads her into a fascination with taxidermy, which becomes just one of her creepy habits. She dreams of visiting Lenin's tomb, and another scene has her stuffing the family dog, complete with scooping the dog's guts out via the anus and stuffing the dog with sawdust.
  • Tragic Dropout: Played for Laughs, but still, Beryl talks about how she was going to go to art school but she got pregnant at 21. This is accompanied by an animation of young Beryl's stomach instantly becoming enormous.