71 minutes

After a series of home-made, hand-crafted animated shorts, US filmmaker Brent Green moves up to feature length with an equally handcrafted but significantly more ambitious project. Made with a small crew of friends and collaborators in mr. Green's own Pennsylvania backyard, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then is entirely shot in stop-motion live-action: a series of animated still photographs assembled over a pre-recorded sound and dialogue track, telling the true story of Kentucky hardware store clerk Leonard Wood (Michael McGinley), who decided to rebuild his house as a "healing machine" to cure his ailing wife.
     The "outsider art" aspect of the tale meshes perfectly with mr. Green's baroque, recherché style of animation (think of it as naïf-hillbilly-grotesque, in the vein of a deliberately rural Tim Burton), and the unlikely inspirational aspect of the tale gives flight to a series of occasionally inspired moments of visual poetry. But it soon becomes apparent that the project doesn't really work at feature length: the wonderment of the unusual visuals disappears quickly, and the impassionate, sermonising aspects of mr. Green's quavering voiceover grow affected and tiresome rather than affecting and sincere over the course of 70 minutes. Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then is too interesting to be dismissed as a mere curio, but not enough of an achievement to be treated as more than that.

Starring Michael McGinley, Donna Kozloskie.
     Directed, photographed and edited by Brent Green; produced by Martina Batan; written by mr. Green, ms. Kozloskie and mr. McGinley; music by mr. Green, ms. Kozloskie, Jim Becker, mr. McGinley; camera, mr. Green, Jem Cohen, Holli Hopkins, ms. Kozloskie, Pete Sillen and Jake Sillen; production designers, mr. Green, ms. Kozloskie, Rodney McLaughlin and Jerry Smith; sound design, ms. Kozloskie. 
     A Nervous Films production. (US distributor and world sales, Nervous Films.)
     Screened: IndieLisboa 2011 official selection advance DVD screener (Lisbon), May 4th 2011.

2nd Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then trailer from Brent Green on Vimeo.


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