|Raindance film review: Seth's Dominion|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Saturday, 04 October 2014 12:04|
"There's an arrogance with all artists that what you're doing is worth hearing."
That's Seth talking about himself. In a documentary about him.
Seth's a cartoonist from Canada. While he's best known there for comic books such as Palookaville, in the UK, he's relatively unknown, particularly outside of comic book circles. It is testament to the film Seth's Dominion, then, that he makes such an interesting subject.
Director Luc Chamberland makes sure Seth is front and centre of the project. While it can be hard to communicate one artist's work in another medium, Seth's drawings turn out to be Chamberland's biggest strength: the melancholic scribblings, all blues and greys, are beautiful on the page and even more so in motion, accompanied by the author's own downbeat narration.
While his autobiographical stories of trips to the local pond and regretting not kissing his mother as young boy are poignant in their intimacy, what's fascinating is how extroverted Seth is in person. "I've been asked by the National Film board to rephrases your questions as statements," he tells a crowd, with a smile. Married to a barber, he muses how odd it is that he, the more social of the pair, is the one who ends up shut up behind a desk all day.
Chamberland details that creative process in fascinating detail - from his morning schedule to the decision to create everything he draws with pre-made rubber stamps. And yet this exhaustiveness does not get tiresome; the documentary knows not to outstay its welcome, clocking in at a brief 40-minute runtime, even with contributions from other comics. The result is a cute tribute to a celebrated figure, which manages to capture something more than mere factual content.
"Every moment is passing," he comments, a deep observation casually thrown out among the other sequences. Articulate and creative in its presentation, this engaging piece of non-fiction is a statement of affection, an exploration of the boundary between fiction and non-fiction and, underneath it all, a wry examination of the self-awareness of artists. As we learn more about his mother and father, Chamberland finally reveals our subject's unexplained need to create a miniature cardboard version of the town around him: this is Seth's dominion, and it's a treat to venture into.
We also have an special new sketch for the premiere of Seth's Dominion at the Raindance Film Festival, which is today at 3.40pm: