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Western Animation / Frank Film

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Frank Film is an Academy Award winning 1973 animated short film directed by husband-and-wife Frank and Caroline Mouris and written by Frank Mouris.

It is a stop-motion short in which Frank Mouris tells the story of his rather ordinary life. The most distinctive feature of this eight-minute film is Mouris's use of magazine cutouts for montage. Mouris collected thousands and thousands of magazine images over the years, and in the short they all pass by at lightning speed, appearing and disappearing and moving around the screen as they illustrate Mouris's autobiography. Another distinctive feature is Mouris's use of two separate narration tracks, one being him telling the story of his life in a straightforward manner while the other consists of Mouris rattling off a non-stop list of words that match whatever the images and the other voice are illustrating.

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Not to be confused with the feature film, Frank.


Tropes:

  • Book-Ends: When the film opens, the second Mouris narration track has Frank calling out the number of every year in reverse, starting with 1973 and going back to his birth in 1944, ending with his birthday. The film ends with the second Mouris narration calling out the number of every year from 1944 back to 1973.
  • Clip-Art Animation: Taken to an extreme here, as Mouris often has a bewildering number of clip art images zooming around at blinding speed.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The second Mouris narration track ends with Mouris reciting the credits to the film.
  • It's All About Me: It is all about him, after all, as Mouris narrates the story of his life.
  • Montages: The film's central conceit, as Mouris uses a montage of images, flashing by at a very fast pace, to illustrate the story of his life. When he's talking about socializing in college, pictures of beer and alcohol flash by. When he's talking about studying in college, pictures of books and book shelves flash by.
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  • Narrator: Two separate narration tracks. The first is simply Mouris talking about his life. The second, playing at the same time as the first, is Mouris reciting a list of words. The words aren't random but match up with what the other narration is saying and what the images are showing. Most but not all of the words in the second narrative track begin with the letter F. For example, when Morris 1 is talking about how much he loves food, and the montage is showing pictures of food items, Morris 2 is reciting the names of food items that begin with the letter F. When Morris 1 is talking about dating and the film is showing pictures of women, Morris 2 is reciting the names of girls he knew (these don't start with F).
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Mouris talks about wanting to be an artist and being inspired by Andy Warhol, a collage of Campbell's Soup cans appears onscreen.
    • When Mouris 1 talks about getting into films, Mouris name-checks 2 of them: François Truffaut and Fantasia (the whole film starts with F anyway!).
  • Stop Motion: The "cutout" style of stop motion, involving magazine cutouts that move around.
  • Title Drop: Mouris 2 says "Frank Film" near the end, before reciting the credits.
  • Visual Pun: Indulged on a couple of occasions. As Frank's narration recounts how he first became interested in girls, the visual collage shows hot dogs sliding into buns.
    • The pope turning into a clown.
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