While I confess to some concern about making a "dud" selection, as week after week passed with few voices choosing to engage the film, I must say that the overall conversation -- between the comments and the posts -- has proven quite gratifying.
Indeed, as Chris noted in his post, my choice to offer this as a FOTMC selection derived from my interest in hearing others comment on the film as a film. I've done the kind of research on these films that Marc mentions as possibly necessary, including days and days screening the various versions in different languages released to specific markets as well as reviewing -- and producing -- variously overheated cultural studies prose about the films as ideological texts or historical documents. Yet none of that has helped me to make sense of this film as a film.
I'm gratified that some FOTMC folks have found the film(s) compelling, and not especially surprised that others have found them less than interesting. That said, I find that I'm pondering a set of questions about our disparate ways "in" to a film.
First, I wonder about the "auteur" question that Peter raised -- which I understood to be the idea that this film was multiply authored and thus defies conventional "auteurist" approaches to cinematic analysis, which presuppose a singular vision as a defining feature of cinematic composition -- and its application to Disney, or any animated production. Indeed, Walt Disney was always what we might call a "corporate" filmmaker. (I'm using the term "corporate" here in its ensemble sense, or a group of people perceived to act as a singular entity.) Though Disney himself did draw, animate, envoice, direct and produce certain productions; very early on, he "farmed" out much of the labor. So, in some ways, it seems the case of Disney also tests our limits in contemplating as an intrinsically collaborative -- indeed, "corporate" -- medium.
Second, I find that I'm wondering if the film makes more sense when considered as "experimental cinema." The value FOTMC commentators seem to have found in the film seems more in that tradition of cinema criticism, than in either film history or in more auteurist approaches. (My own background is as a cultural historian who approaches a broad array of popular culture texts through the lens of performance studies/theory, so I'm fairly unschooled in "experimental cinema" as a tradition.)
Finally, I'm struck -- after our fairly energetic consideration of such issues within Bad Influence -- of the relative absence of commentary about "taste" in the film. A number of commentators, perhaps more than any previously chosen film, professed that Disney and/or animation more generally were just "not their cup of tea". I wonder, then, how such issues of "taste" inform the the shaping of critical vocabulary more generally.
Thanks, everyone, for being game for this/my characteristically off-kilter choice for February's Film Club. Even though the conversation wasn't huge, I found everyone's contributions clarifying to my approach to the film. What's more -- I always thought that "real" film studies types would know just what to make of this defiantly odd film. I'm now relieved to learn that it's not just me who's both completely flummoxed (and also quite fascinated) by this wackadoo little movie.