Heavy Traffic

Ralph Bakshi moves beyond the ersatz animalism of Fritz the Cat to the real-life animalism of New York's Lower East Side in this hilarious, grotesque cartoon/live-action feature (1973), a pinball player's fantasy equivalent of Hubert Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn. Bakshi manages to offend nearly everyone from transvestites to mafiosi, but the comic distancing achieved by his army of animators manages to bring off a most difficult kind of humor: the humor of pain and despair. R, 77 min.

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