“The Pub” by Joseph Pierce

After a long festival run, Joseph Pierce’s The Pub was posted online today. It’s the third film Pierce has made using his distinctive rotoscope technique, following the graduation short Stand-Up and the independent film Family Portrait. He also recently created animation for the controversial Philip Glass opera about the life of Walt Disney, The Perfect American.

Pierce has the curious ability to peel back the surface by drawing on top of live-action footage. His drawings reveal suppressed personalities and interpersonal relationships that bubble underneath the public masks that we wear. The Pub is his most pessimistic work to date and reveals human beings in their weakest, most pathetic state. Pierce turns the setting—a British pub—into a nightmarish human zoo, and creates an intriguing ambiguity that leaves the viewer questioning who is actually in control of that universe—the bartender or the pub patrons.


  • Mohegan

    I saw this at the filmfestival in Leuven Belgium, it was great! The gorilla guy made me laugh though!

  • mick

    he sure has that misery style down to a T doesn’t he

  • hiradot

    that was beautiful. I love his way of seeing our world.

  • Satorical

    Outstanding.

  • GW

    I hadn’t cared for Stand-Up because of it’s strange effect of double humor between the comedian and the animation overlaying the footage. The Pub is a very intriguing interpretation of these different people’s personalities. Still, I’m wondering how he directs the live action footage. I suppose I’m killing the mystique, but what’s the big deal about doing this manipulation of a scene that he probably set up with live actors? I like it, but where does the social observation come in if he’s the one doing the manipulation?

  • http://twitter.com/erikwiedenmann Erik Wiedenmann

    I feel the same way. But maybe the rotoscope flourishings work for some people.

  • http://twitter.com/erikwiedenmann Erik Wiedenmann

    Sure, pubs can get roudy, I suppose. But I don’t think they’re all that bad. In fact, I experienced quite the opposite. Here’s a story: I lived in London for a year and lived right above a pub. It was this really shabby local place, and it seemed like only regulars ever went there. It was always the same guys I saw. It got me wondering what these people were like. I mean, I only saw them outside when they were having a smoke. So, one day, I got my courage together and entered the shady water hole. Long story short, by the end of my stay, I got to know all of them very well and actually recorded some for an animation. I only ever got around to animate one snippet of it, but maybe I should revisit it some time in the future. Pubs don’t deserve the bad wrap.

  • http://twitter.com/madebybecks rebecca gibbs

    having been married to a british alcoholic i have to say this is how i feel about pubs and bar flies lol! All it needed was more fruit machines!

  • Everlasting Concubine

    If you’ve ever had an awful night working at a bar, this will ring true for you. Perhaps it feels pessimistic, but not that far off, if you happen to be having that one night when everything seems to be happening at once, and everyone is uniquely terrible. Pierce’s technique works wonderfully for this. I really enjoyed the gangster/ gorilla – the way he denuded the posturing tough guy through transformation was just perfect.

    The bachelorette party wasn’t nearly horrible enough, though. *shudder*