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Western Animation / The Red Book

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The Red Book (1994) is a 1994 experimental animated short film (12 minutes) by Janie Geiser.

It is an impressionistic short filled with a series of images. A woman in a red dress walks down a hallway filled with doors. A drawing of a naked woman sits on a table, where it's cut into pieces. The woman in the red dress boards an elevator and go up. Textbooks in languages other than English fly by. A draftsman's triangle appears, and we see architectual plans. A building, possibly the one shown in the plans, tumbles by in the wind. Diaries float past the screen, but the writing on them is mostly illegible. Keys fit into locks.


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  • Call-Back: Several shots are repeated. There's also a pair of shots showing hands clearing away dirt. The first time, the hands clear away dirt to reveal a book. The second time, the hands clear away dirt to reveal the woman's face.
  • Clip-Art Animation: The whole short consists of clip art manipulated against painted backgrounds.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: As one might guess from the title, the predominant color is red. The woman's dress is red. The drawing of the naked woman is on red paper. The hallway she walks through is red. Most of the rest of the movie is in black and white.
  • Impairment Shot: One shot appears to be a shot of the woman regaining consciousness. A blurry picture gradually comes into focus, showing three people looking down on the camera, as if from the POV of someone lying on their back and waking up.
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  • Mind Screw: Why is that building rolling by like a tumbleweed in the wind? What does it mean when the woman boards an elevator and goes up? What's the significance of the drawing of the naked lady on the draftsman's table? Was she an architect? See Through the Eyes of Madness below.
  • Silence Is Golden: No dialogue.
  • The Stinger: The film cuts to black, the credits roll, and then there's one final shot of the woman's hand putting a key into a lock.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: In interviews Geiser indicated that the story, to the extent that it is one, is about a woman with amnesia trying to re-learn her life. Although it's hard to glean that from her elliptical, surreal images, there are suggestions of a protagonist with a disturbed mental state. Brief phrases such as "never know", "time now so distant", and "lost son" are written on screen. The Impairment Shot suggests that the woman is being cared for. Shots of the woman's face spinning around may be evocative of mental disorder. There's also a shot of the top of the woman's head, which opens up, showing a bunch of distinct little pictures inside. A hand reaches in and pokes around.
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