Heavy Traffic (1973)

Heavy Traffic (1973), written and directed by Ralph Bakshi.

The loosely plotted adventures of a Jewish-Italian underground cartoonist. Rude, crude, splatter-violent, sexually outrageous, blasphemous. Humanity as repellent toons.

Done to light jazz "Scarborough Fair".

And yet... while no one would accuse Bakshi of subtlety or of having a suave style, his graphic imagination is sometimes very impressive, and he makes good use of a variety of live and animated compositions, processed in all sorts of ways.

In his grubby, brutal world, better times and places glow dimly in the background. Ruin implies past strength, decay remembers past health. Little snatches of old music can hale our souls to times long ago and far away.

He finishes with an innocent little love scene in the real world and I am left thinking I've seen something special, without knowing exactly why.

Rated X and banned in Alberta.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory. Absolutely bare bones, movie-only, no subtitles. 76m long. The IMDB has the aspect ratio as 1.85, but it looks more like 1.66 to me.