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American Splendor (Widescreen)

Paul Giamatti , Shari Springer Berman , Shari Springer Berman , Robert Pulcini    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.93 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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. Formant une équipe de documentaristes solide (leur premier film, Off The Menu, fut considéré par USA Today comme un des 10 meilleurs films de 1998), Shari Springer Berman et Robert Pulcini, font exploser les limites traditionnelles du documentaire avec leur 4ème film, American Splendor : la vie privée, évocation audacieuse de la vie et de l’oeuvre d’Harvey Pekar, un auteur américain de comics.

Sur le papier, Harvey Pekar est un être détestable. Documentaliste dans un hôpital, il relate son histoire et celles de ses proches dans des bandes dessinées underground. Misanthrope, geignard, grincheux, il a tout d’une version cynique d’un Droopy de banlieue de Cleveland. Pourtant Harvey Pekar est aussi un être drôle, incisif et très attachant.

Racontant son histoire en voix-off, Pekar est alors interprété à l’écran par Paul Giamatti (Storytelling, L’homme sur la lune) dans une version fictionnalisée de la vie de l’homme. Si le mélange réalité-fiction est déjà savoureux, les cinéastes lui ajoutent de façon très inventive une illustration des bandes dessinées même de Pekar, et voilà que le dessin intervient dans l’image pour donner au film une texture riche, ambitieuse et originale. Sans jamais être confus, très drôle, le film apporte également une réflexion sur la création tout à fait pertinente et a été récompensé du prix de la critique internationale, du prix de la société nationale des critiques américains, des critiques réunis à Toronto et du grand prix du festival Sundance en 2003. – Helen Faradji.

Product Description

Giamatti/Davis/Pekar/Barbner ~ American Splendor

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a wonderful life June 26 2004
Format:DVD
Disgruntled file clerk and social misfit Harvey Pekar (Paul Giamatti) lucks into a degree of fame, if not fortune, when underground comics legend Robert Crumb (James Urbaniak) collaborates with him on a comic about his life. Pekar lives in a state of existential misery, desperately lonely and angry about his outsider status. His comics, though, make him a kind of hero to average suffering folks and even bring him a little family by the end of the film (his wife, Joyce Brabner, is wonderfully played by Hope Davis). We are left with the sense that life never has and never will be smooth sailing for Pekar, but the struggle has its own worth and nobility and, in the end, will bring you more than mere surrender ever will. This may be a rather sweet, conventional message for a film that aims to be so subversive and counter-cultural, but it is reassuring all the same.
Writer/directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini employ a mix of animation, documentary and bio-pic conventions to relate their story, with varying degrees of success. Showing excerpts of Harvey's actual appearances on the David Letterman Show instead of recreating them with actors is a stroke of genius and I appreciated the unapologetic, direct way these sequences were handled: we see Paul Giamatti waiting in the wings, followed by a cut to the real Harvey walking out onto the stage. At other times, such as having the real Harvey comment on the actor chosen to play him, it seems somewhat contrived and echoes a complaint that he makes during the film of having been co-opted by the system.
All in all, a very entertaining, interesting film with wonderful performances. PS: I can't end my review without mentioning Judah Friedlander's wonderfully quirky, hilarious, and touching performance as uber-nerd Toby Radloff. Certain key characters also appear as themselves during the film.
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Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
The true story of Harvey Pekar, a misanthropic file clerk and comic
book fan, who met Robert Crumb, and had the brilliant idea to turn his
everyday trials and tribulations into a comic book. Sort of everyman as
superman.

The film has Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis (both uncanny and terrific)
playing the real life Harvey and his off-beat mate, while occasionally
the real Harvey comments on it all ('this guy you got playin' me...')
either in narration, or on camera in a kind of white room limbo set.

So, like the comic, the film plays with levels of reality, but goes it
one better. There's the real Harvey, his lightly fictionalized
counter-part from the cartoons, and the two actors, who seem to be
playing a combination of both real and comic book creation.

Its all wonderfully playful and funny but still has room to be quite
touching and human on occasion, and raises all sorts of interesting
questions about what is 'truth' in storytelling and in life - what is a
'documentary'?, Are our own accounts of lives 'true?

It's a house of mirrors that leaves you smiling, thoughtful and touched
at the dignity and insight of 'normal' people - which seems to be a big
part of Pekar's seemingly grumpy argument. A lovely film with humor,
heart and art that goes out and creates its own rules.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Paul Giamatti is pure Gold.... April 25 2012
By Bobo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although I never read any of Harvey Pekar's comic books, I did see some of his appearances on David Letterman. I was surprised to see a whole movie made about his life. That being said, I was completely captivated by this heart warming story of this quirky, everyday man and the trials and triumphs of his life. Paul Giamatti is one of our times greatest character actors and he is aptly suited to this difficult role. The film brings to life some of the strangest characters in Harvey Pekar's odd little world, including counter-culture cartoonist Robert Crumb. Laughs abound amongst serious topics but are handled beautifully in this well made indie gem. Even if you're not familiar with Harvey Pekar or comic books in general the story is very human and relatable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere Man� Jan. 7 2004
Format:DVD
The Plot: Harvey Pekar took his dead-end life as a file clerk in the early Eighties and became a minor celebrity by basing a hit cult comic around himself. From the difficulties of being stuck in line at a supermarket through to battling Cancer, his work is brilliantly portrayed as the film uses a mix of animation, the perfectly cast Giamatti, while blending both archive footage and recent narration by the real life Pekar perfectly.
Standout Scene: As reality is suspended briefly the actors take a backseat to listen to Pekar & the supremely funny Toby Radloff take centre stage.
Any Good? Pekar once called out David Letterman's talk show as manipulative shtick and American Splendor makes no bones about giving one in the eye to the establishment too. This is a genuinely funny film from the ultimate 'anti-American-Dreamer,' and should definitely not be missed.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The ordinary masquerading as extraordinary
This movie about working class clerk and amateur comics-creator Harvey Pekar's life is funny but also sadly depressing. Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2011 by S Svendsen
3.0 out of 5 stars The Great American Movie?
Dont get me wrong, I've always like the Pekar comics and it's interesting in that respect, it's the story of him and a remake of some of his best works. Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a superhero.............just some guy.
Check this out. This is mostly a biopic about underground comic book creator, Harvey Pekar, but there are some documentary elements thrown in as well. Read more
Published on June 22 2004 by nico_laos
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is Harvey Pekar?
I never heard of Harvey Pekar or "American Splendor" before this movie, even though I've been a regular at a well-stocked comic book shop for a decade. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by Philip B. Yochim
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid "Splendor"
This movie is wonderful. It manages to be both stylistically daring and genuinely touching. Harvey Pekar is such a fantastic protagonist because he's so heartbreakingly ordinary. Read more
Published on June 14 2004 by Douglas King
4.0 out of 5 stars Ordinary life is Pretty Complex Stuff
I didn't know that an ordinary life can be beautiful or mesmerizing until I saw this film. Harvey Pekar, an ungroomed file clerk in a VA hospital with two divorces under his belt,... Read more
Published on June 11 2004 by V. Nunez
4.0 out of 5 stars comic book entrepreneur scores American Dream
I found this film to be most interesting in its scenes of the Rust Belt and how an unprepossessing person in a dead-end job can become unexpectedly successful, by exploiting the... Read more
Published on June 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb indie film of underground comic hero
This amazing movie is justly one of the best movies of 2003. I suspect its appeal is generational; for people who are not familiar with Robert Crumb's work, some of the film will... Read more
Published on June 5 2004 by M. Veiluva
5.0 out of 5 stars I have 2 words: PAUL GIAMATTI
I'd seen Paul Giamatti around before, mostly in stinkers like "Big Fat Liar", he never gets the roles or attention he deserves. Read more
Published on May 24 2004 by Liolania
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