Bill goes to the bus stop, and in the distance he sees a person he knows. But he gets nervous and mixes two sentences to greet her. They will never see each other again. He thus begins ‘It’s such a beautiful day’, an animated film with its own style that some people can erroneously confuse with a lack of talent or budget.
Don Hertzfeldt has shown over the years that he is one of the greatest minds in the world of cinema today, both with this first film and with his fabulous series ‘World of tomorrow’. If you still don’t know this unique narrator, reading this review will discover an author capable of moving you inside… with some stick figures.
I forgive you
Originally, ‘It’s such a beautiful day’ was a short film, ‘Everything will be OK’, but, in the same way that he did with ‘World of tomorrow’, Hertzfeldt released three that completed the saga from 2006 to 2011 that ended up becoming a constant evolution, a flight forward over the mental and psychological problems and the cognitive deterioration of a person destined to die. Or live forever, who knows. See the world, in any case, from another overwhelming perspective, a unique tone that you will not find in any other work.
Because ‘It’s such a beautiful day’ is, ultimately, a film about waiting for death and embracing the life we have left, even if we don’t fully understand it. The existentialism that exudes from every minute is exhausting: there is so much to try to apprehend, that you don’t even see how, on the other side, the tape is preparing a new way to hit you in the stomach.
How long has Bill been in the hospital bed? Who are these people that he does not know watching over him while he is dying? To whom did he just say “I forgive you” and why does he start crying? The visual experiment that completely breaks with any attempt at traditional narrative is the only way a story like this can be told, in which the course is set by extreme cognitive decline mixed with depressing (but real) life lessons.
I’ll only get older
Few things can be defined as “author cinema” as much as ‘It’s such a beautiful day’: Hertzfeldt is its director, screenwriter, producer and main dubber. An authentic tour de force in which getting carried away is not as easy as it seems: the editing of the film takes you through wild landscapes, impossible twists and turns, does a thousand capers that do not allow the viewer to relax. It’s not the intention, of course. By challenging the concept of the narrative itself we enter directly into the world of ideas.
There is a common thread, but the most interesting thing in Bill’s story is not what happens to him, but how it happens to him, how we can see the world through his eyes and a small brain in a continuous state of change and deconstruction. . To watch this movie is to enter for an hour in a world where logic only has a place in part before descending into hell where it is impossible to follow the rhythm of your own story, faces are just blurs, the world is a stranger to you and You just want to dream of an eternal life beyond all that will be known.
It is true that the first short of ‘It’s such a beautiful day’ starts out so strong that it is never up to par again, but it is not a problem: Hertzfeldt’s lazy half hour has more cinema, innovation and surprise than most movies of great filmmakers. The only reason why this creator is not better known is due to social rejection and prejudice towards animation , because he is actually one of the best storytellers of our times.
He wondered if this was really his life.
I know it seems weird, and I’m exaggerating. How is an animation made with stick figures going to make you feel? And yet, when Bill is in the hospital bed and his ex-girlfriend goes to check on him while someone else stares at the curtain, you feel something snap inside you. Something that had already been broken moments before, and that thanks to the very dark sense of humor of the film is put back together again. And that is the game that the director proposes to you: I am going to break you, I am going to rearm you, I am going to break you again, and at a given moment you will realize that you are suffering for a stick figure.
‘It’s such a beautiful day’ is a complex work, full of content, feelings, sensations, humor and pain in which it is difficult to follow the thread, but even in that mental restlessness it is worth it: its barely sixty minutes are exhausting and you they take it to the extreme. The film puts you in the point of view of a person who loses his memory and mixes past, present and future as if in a discontinuous existence, but completely rejects cheap sentimentality. Instead, a layer of humor blacker than coffee, urban reality and narrative experimentation that gives it a touch as special as it is unique.
The good news is that, in addition to this wonder, you can see ‘World of tomorrow’ on Filmin and marvel at one of the most important existentialist science-fiction stories of all time. We have before us an author who is capable of changing the narrative of the 21st century and we are not giving him the necessary importance. ‘It’s such a beautiful day’ is not only recommended despite its mistakes: it is, frankly, necessary.