Meta-cinema at its most thought-provoking and visually appealing, "Alter Egos" is a parallel study of two animators, Oscar-nominated Ryan Larkin, a Norman McLaren disciple who burned out at the height of his early career and now cadges for booze in Montreal; and Chris Landreth, a computer wiz who has made his own fascinating film about Larkin, the 14-minute "Ryan," which is generally shown alongside the longer pic to make a package appealing equally to toon-heads, cinema buffs and anyone pondering the ephemeral nature of the creative process. International tube play is assured.

Meta-cinema at its most thought-provoking and visually appealing, “Alter Egos” is a parallel study of two animators, Oscar-nominated Ryan Larkin, a Norman McLaren disciple who burned out at the height of his early career and now cadges for booze in Montreal; and Chris Landreth, a computer wiz who has made his own fascinating film about Larkin, the 14-minute “Ryan,” which is generally shown alongside the longer pic to make a package appealing equally to toon-heads, cinema buffs and anyone pondering the ephemeral nature of the creative process. International tube play is assured.

After wrapping 1968′s “Walking,” which assured its maker’s place in Canadian film history, the wunderkind cartoonist went supernova, with a burst of coke-fueled psychedelia followed by a whole lot of nothing. In 1972, he completely dropped out, and was eventually spotted asking for change on Montreal’s chilly streets, where he still can be found today. As Landreth, also an Oscar nom ( for the 1998 “Bingo”), attempts to develop a CGI take on Larkin based on video and audio interviews with the erstwhile animator, a fascinating symbiosis is achieved, revealing unexpected things between the two artists.

Alter Egos

Canada

Production

A National Film Board of Canada presentation of a Copper Heart Entertainment production (International sales: NFB, Montreal.) Produced by Steven Hoban, Mark Smith, Adam Symansky. Executive producers, Karyn Nolan, Noah Segal, Sally Bochner, David Verrall. Directed, written by Laurence Green.

Crew

Camera (color, BetaSP), Jay Ferguson; editor, Susan Martin; music, Adam Werner, Dan Turcotte, Jeremy Edwardes. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Canadian Images), Oct. 5, 2004. Running time: 52 MIN.
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