Nonsense | Chicago Reader


This program—part of Doc Films and the Smart Museum of Art's series on surrealism in cinema—makes the case for surreal elements in silent comedies by Charlie Chaplin and Mack Sennett and in early animated cartoons by Max and Dave Fleischer. The rapid pacing of Sennett's two-reelers allowed for gags that suspended logic: the interaction between spectators and a movie screen in Mabel's Dramatic Career (1913) and the fat man who empties a pool of water and swimmers in The Surf Girl (1916) exemplify silent comedy's loose boundary between illusion and reality. Similarly, the Fleischers' Modelling (1921) deconstructs the process of animation when a drawing of a clown visibly assembles itself out of an inkwell.

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