In the mid 1970s, Harvey Pekar (Paul Giamatti) started writing comics that were radically different from anything being published at the time. American Splendor was unlike other indie comics, which were usually the product of a single writer-artist, the equivalent of singer-songwriters thought to have an authentic “voice.” Instead, Pekar who couldn’t draw, hired guest artists. Unlike superhero comics, in which magic powers fix everything, American Splendor unstintingly documented stories from Pekar’s job, his relationships, his health, his fame as a frequent guest on the David Letterman show and his battle with cancer, which he documented with his wife, Joyce Brabner (Hope Davis, named best actress by the New York Film Critics Circle for this role).
In adapting American Splendor, filmmakers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini convey what Robert Crumb called the “stark realism” of Pekar’s comics by calling attention to itself as an artifice by bringing Pekar, Brabner and a Pekar co-worker (Toby Radloff, played by Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock fame) on-screen, in some cases next to the actors who play them.
American Splendor was named best film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics, in addition to numerous best screenplay honours. Guest curated by Suzette Chan.
- Tuesday March 20, 2012 at 9:15PM
This screening is part of the larger thematic series:
- Graphic Content: A Comic Book Film Series 2011/12
- Batman: The Movie (1966)
- Graphic Content: Superman (1978)
- Graphic Content: V for Vendetta (2006)
- Graphic Content: Akira (1988)
- Graphic Content: The Rocketeer (1991)
- Graphic Content: Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)
- Graphic Content: American Splendor (2003)
- Graphic Content: Ghost World (2011)
- Graphic Content: A History of Violence (2005)
- Graphic Content: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)