Director, writer, and animator Jac Clinch has created an impressive filmography that details the frustrations of small-town life in Britain. With his BAFTA-nominated The Alan Dimension, viewers saw the titular mumbling-and-bumbling Alan Brown deal with the weight of seeing the future.
With Clinch’s latest short, Chops, the director departs from The Alan Dimension’s illustrated animation style, but sticks with the small and not-so-small nuisances his characters often face. Chops begins as a husband and wife eat a meal in a small café. As the next customers enter, it’s clear this is not the average dining situation, but rather one where you can order a haircut and a steak at the same time.
As expected, having your hair cut at the same time as attempting to eat causes many physical challenges. One person uses a spoon to find her bowl, while another customer’s whipped cream is doubled-up as shaving foam. And despite the many hairs falling from his head into his food, Keith has no problem eating. That is, until he finds someone else’s hair.
Keith is sent into a disgust-filled rage at the unwelcome discovery, with Clinch’s film expertly treading a surrealist line as this average character begins to pull out an earth-movingly long hair. Clinch’s blend of portraying the everyday and the weirdness we often find in the everyday summarises Chops’ tone: the bizarreness of reality. What at once may seem like the uninteresting aspects of everyday existence – such as a middle-aged couple sitting in a café – can soon become compelling if given the right amount of attention and imagination.
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DIRECTOR: Jac Clinch
WRITER: Jac Clinch
PRODUCER: Millie Marsh
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Miles Ridgway
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Declan O’Brien
EDITOR: Xanna Ward Dixon
SYNOPSIS: In an unconventional café, a man discovers a long, and unwanted, surprise in his quiche.