Babylon at the Movies: Manifestoon

A classic of subversive American cartoon collage, this short brought Marx to the matinee in a new and exciting way that radicals have yet to match...


Artist’s Statement by producer Jesse Drew: Manifestoon is an homage to the latent subversiveness of cartoons. Though American cartoons are usually thought of as conveying consumerist and individualistic ideologies, as an avid fan of cartoons as a child, these ideas were secondary to a more important lesson–that of the “trickster” nature of many cartoon characters as they mocked, outwitted, and ultimately defeated their stronger, more powerful adversaries. In the classic cartoon, brute strength and heavy artillery are no match for wit and humor, and justice always prevails. For me, it was a natural process to link my own childhood concept of subversion with an established, more articulate version of subversiveness. These cartoon clips are all from different cartoons, with the exception of one or two, and reflect a broad range of the classic traditional Hollywood animations. In Manifestoon, the image of Mickey running over the globe has new meaning in the current mediascape in which Disney now controls one of the largest concentrations of media ownership in the world. But it could be asked, is he gaining ground, or could he be running away from the revolt of the disposessed ‘toons?

And now a word from Washington Babylon: This film is simply a blast. At a time when socialism is getting a new lease on life thanks to developments nationwide, it seems like an important and worthwhile project to think about the legacy of the Left in new and unique ways.

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