>> Fantastic Fest 3: Moebius Redux (John’s Review, 8/10)

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moebius_futuristic.jpgA staple of Academy Award show hyperbole is the statement that movies can transport us to another place and time. It’s one idealized reason for why people love going to the movies, but when was the last time you were actually “transported” by a film–taken to another world for an hour and a half, and you weren’t ready to leave when the trip was done? Director Hasko Baumann has created such a film, Moebius Redux: A Life in Pictures, a documentary on the artistic life of influential French comic legend Jean Giraud Moebius.

This is not a grand biography on Moebius; the film starts with his birth as a published artist and his Western break-out hit Blueberry, and goes on to cover the birth of Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal, to us), his film work (including Dune and Alien), and his decline under the guidance of a sketchy cult leader. Moebius himself comes across as a dedicated workman with a hungry heart and a giant imagination. Most of the insight into what makes him tick come from former collaborators Jean-Michel Charlier and the very entertaining Alejandro Jodorowsky. Jodorowsky, in particular, sounds like Moebius’s father/mentor/psychoanalyst, and you’re left wondering what Moebius actually thinks of him.

Baumann’s best creative decision is to let the artwork speak for itself. The camera moves through vibrant close-ups of Moebius’s work, sometimes traveling into panels with computer animation against an electronic soundscape. It’s really quite effective. I could’ve just watched that for 90 minutes, honestly, but the talking head interview segments weren’t bad at all. Where the film has one weakness is on the follow-through. Questions are raised in interviews and never covered. For example, it is explained that Moebius is three distinct artists in one man, but that split is never spelled out for us beyond that. Moebius’s experience with a religious cult is related to us as his association with them ends, but it is never clear how it began, or what they believed. His foray into American comics (a Silver Surfer project) is pooh-poohed by Jodorowsky, but how did Moebius feel about the final product?

The film is missing some important details, but it works regardless and works well. A friend commented after the screening that he wanted to immediately go out and buy some Moebius comics, and I agreed. I wanted to stay and live in those panels. Baumann has created a satisfying tribute to one of comics’ biggest legends.

8 on a 1 to 10 scale

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