If you’ve seen the trailer/teaser for Terence Nance’s half-animated, half-amazing film An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty, you’re doubtless as intrigued as we are. The movie seems to mix a classic–if uniquely told–boy meets girl scenario with surreal animated passages in a way that recalls The Science Of Sleep (or even One Crazy Summer) but filtered through a very different mood and visual aesthetic. Luckily those of us who don’t live in Park City, Utah can now get some insight into the story, the creative process and the input of such illustrious collaborators/backers as Wyatt Cenac, Jocelyn Cooper, dream hampton, Paul Bernon, Jason Weissman, Joy Bryant, Jay-Z and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art. Nance sat down with Quinn Parker of L+T to discuss all of that as well as his ideas about ‘art-funk’, the depiction of vulnerability in black men and the advancement of black cinema. He also goes deep on the relationship with co-star Namik Minter that inspired the film and an album thats set to be released in conjunction with it. Intrigued? Scroll down for an excerpt of that convo and some more visually stunning stills, and hit the link to read the full Q&A.
Q: Talk about mixing in animation with live action and why you wanted to do that.
TN: The film for me is a very direct retelling of a story about love, and a lot of that is told through me, Namik and other characters reenacting moments from our lives and moments in which we interacted with each other. But a lot of the story is stuff that’s not re-enactable, like me writing a letter to her or her responding to that letter or a dream that I had. You can’t film a dream or it would be boring to film me just reading a letter, so the animation came in when we were trying to document the un-documentable on some level. That speaks to what some of the emotions and nuances of feeling, and the nooks and crannies of the experiences were in ways that are visually interesting, and more than interesting, just visually accurate to what emotions the scenes are trying to depict in a way that wouldn’t be served by live action.
Q: Talk about the musical aspect of the film. There’s an album coming out in conjunction with the film, correct?
TN: Yeah, that’s correct. It has the same title as the film. I scored the film with songs that I had written. I’ve been doing music, writing songs for as long as I’ve been doing anything else. My uncle’s a musician and so are my brothers, and me and my brothers have a band together. When we premiered the film at Sundance, we also performed the music for the film and we’ve done that at a few other festivals – at Rooftop and we did it at the Brooklyn Museum as well. The music element to me is as important as the film. For me, it’s a film and music project, it’s not just a film. I’m really excited for when the DVD comes out with the album later this year so people can get the whole experience. The general form of the film is a blues song, in that blues is sort of a formal art-making process the way it memorializes negative experiences in a melodic way. For me, that’s what the film is and the music follows suit.