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Heavy Traffic

By Ali Davis

Heavy Traffic is writer-director Ralph Bakshi's follow-up to Fritz the Cat, so if you're looking for a little something to watch with the kids, you might want to search elsewhere. It's an odd little movie, one that seems to both condemn and celebrate depravity at the same time. The hero is Michael, an artist who still lives with his battling parents. Michael is far too sensitive for the cruel city, though he sure seems to draw an awful lot of pictures of it. Michael hooks up with cool bartender Carole and the two of them set off to... well, they plan to do something. More engaging than the story are Bakshi's visual techniques, which include blending animated and live-action sequences and layering old film clips into cartoon backgrounds. Though interesting as a piece of animation, Heavy Traffic is difficult to recommend. There is a running thread of misogyny that makes the film off-putting, to say the least. Yes, all of the characters are unpleasant and yes, most of the violence is over-the-top enough to make a case for it being comic. It is the constant, casual misogyny that's unsettling--at one point Michael backhands Carole across the face and everyone, including Carole, seems to be fine with that. Keep an ear out for Jamie Farr and watch it for the animation, not the plot.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated XNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Ralph Bakshi

Stars: Joseph Kaufmann, Jamie Farr (voices)

Released: December 14, 1973

Availability: DVD VHS


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