679. The Janitor – Vanessa Schwartz

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SUMMARY: God’s janitor tells the story of how he was directly responsible for some of the most important moments in the Bible.

WHY IT’S HERE: Vanessa Schwartz’s student film ‘The Janitor’ may be one of the most modest films to ever find itself nominated for an Oscar. Based on an amusing, lightly controversial monologue by actor Geoffrey Lewis, ‘The Janitor’ focuses on God’s janitor as he claims responsibility for famous Biblical moments such as the flood and the ascension. Although it depicts God as not fully in control and reinterprets key moments in Christianity, it does so through a comical and potentially unreliable narrator so only the very easily offended need approach the film with caution. Schwartz’s animation uses pencil line drawings with a purposefully unfinished look, although they are often deceptively intricate. The janitor character himself is a wonderful creation who stretches and waddles around the screen with fluid but awkward movements. Favouring the less-is-more approach, presumably for financial reasons as much as anything else, it is encouraging to see shorts like ‘The Janitor’ get nominated for big awards, recognising creative ability over surface flash.

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