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.

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