“Marilyn Myller” (dir. Mikey Please, 2013, 6:06)
Back in January, The Dissolve’s “Short Cuts” column featured the outstanding 2011 Mikey Please animated short “The Eagleman Stag,” a stop-motion film about an old scientist reflecting on how people’s perception of time varies as they age. When I posted “The Eagleman Stag,” Please already had another major animated short in the can (about to debut at Sundance at the time) called “Marilyn Myller,” featuring Josie Long as the voice of a sculptor who smashes her work when she can’t bring her latest project off the way she’s planned. In an interview with Motionographer, Please said “Marilyn Myller” itself evolved as he was making it, starting out as another piece about relativity—considering differences in scale—and then becoming “about someone trying to squeeze big ideas into their work and sucking at it.”
“Marilyn Myller” is now available online after a strong festival run, and while it isn’t as fully realized as “The Eagleman Stag,” it’s a funny, heartfelt piece, marked by the same carved white foam figures and sets that made Please’s first short so distinctive. The film has a clever structure, too, with the first half depicting the artist as a deity, creating her little sculpted worlds and admiring her own phenomenal powers. Then the second half shows her wracked with doubt, thinking, “It was meant to be a little bit better than this.” In the end, “Marilyn Myller” is another Please film about degrees of perception, only this time, he explores the gap between what an artist sees in her mind, and what she’s able to make with her hands.
Previous “Short Cuts” columns can be found here.