979. In the Air is Christopher Gray – Felix Massie

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SUMMARY: Christopher Gray discovers that Stacie, the girl he is in love with, has broken up with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Barry Flint buys his son a boa constrictor in an attempt to win his love.

WHY IT’S HERE: Felix Massie’s ‘In the Air is Christopher Gray’ tells two parallel stories that intertwine incongruously to very strange effect. Using a similar blobby stickman character design as in his masterpiece ‘Keith Reynolds Can’t Make It Tonight’, ‘In the Air is Christopher Gray’ also retains the dark tone of Massie’s work but pushes it to new and horrifying levels. Thanks to a barrage of nihilistic adult animations since the 90s, audiences are not unused to seeing terrible things happen to children in the name of comedy but Massie’s take on this gets under the skin, as the detached narrator offers us the details of his characters’ emotional motivations. Massie juxtaposes the tragic event with a comparatively trivial tale of a twelve year old boy’s attempts to win the affections of a newly-single girl, but Massie gives this plotline the most attention, with the horrifying death treated almost as incidental by the majority of the characters. ‘In the Air is Christopher Gray’ could be accused of indelicacy but subsequent watches reveal it to be very carefully constructed. It doesn’t quite have the philosophical resonance of Massie’s previous films but is continued evidence of a dark but playful talent.

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