'Everyday life can get pretty complicated', according to Harvey Pekar, a neurotic professional grouch and comic strip writer. A mass audience in America also remembers Pekar for his guest appearances on the David Letterman Show in the 1980s. In the meanwhile Pekar worked as a file clerk in the local hospital. His American Splendor strips are about the everyday disappointments of the ordinary man, or about Pekar himself. Some of the strips were drawn by Robert Crumb. Pekar and Crumb met at a flea market where they were both looking for old LPs and had a brilliant idea ('Why doesn't anyone make a comic strip about an ordinary man like me?'). This marked the start of a fruitful cooperation. Pulcini and Berman did not just make a film biography about Pekar; they jumbled up fiction, interviews with Pekar and pieces of comic strip and allowed the story to travel back and forth in time. Camerawork and production design are faithful to the comic strip form, including appropriate close ups from surprising angles. Pekar's marriages, his battle with cancer and especially plenty of everyday suffering all pass revue. From time to time the real characters take over from the actors. The comforting message of this delightful gripe film is that we can basically all be heroes of a comic strip. American Splendor won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the FIPRESCI Award in Cannes.
Directors
Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Country of production
USA
Production Year
2003
Festival Edition
IFFR 2004
Length
100'
Medium
35mm
Language
English
Producers
HBO Films, Ted Hope
Sales
HBO Films London
Screenplay
Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman
Editor
Robert Pulcini
Local Distributor
Paradiso Filmed Entertainment (oud)
Website
http://www.americansplendormovie.com