It seems that I cannot get Edvard Munch out of my mind when I watch a Georges Méliès animated picture--and to Munch I can add Goya, exploring the aberrant and the unholy, the dream-like--or the nightmarish. The performer draws faces on a chalkboard, then becomes the face--varying whiskers and beard, gaining a monocle, finally becoming an outré clown--and then of course the Devil himself--Méliès unmasked, I suspect--wrapping his cape about him and vanishing.
This is Gothic-bizarre, compelling and off-putting at the same time--or is it compelling because it is off-putting? Or is my compulsion to watch so strong that it upsets? I confess my response may have something more to do with my own state of mind than The Untamable Whiskers itself. But I will not shrink from this habit of forcing cinema inward, to the only place it becomes understandable to me. I find myself losing interest in what might be Méliès' "intentions." I'd much rather mold the picture like pulsating clay, alive in my hands, and livelier the more I knead and shape it, no matter how freakish or incomprehensible the resulting form.