A simple story of a high school boy who attends a live band performance isn’t an uncommon conversation, no matter the year you were born. As a short film concept, combined with one of the most creative visual tellings premiered in the Tribeca Film Festival, “The Velvet Underground Played At My High School” is incredibly unique. The director, Anthony Jannelli, is a comprehensive narrator, but the film shines in its dynamic black-and-white style of still-frame animation.
The film’s responsibility to show the perspective of the early 1960s climate is respectfully told through its nostalgic style of narration- as if your grandfather tells a story to you by a fireplace at four in the afternoon. The frame-to-frame animation is smoothly transitioned with appropriate special effects. Many animators tend to break this illusion with misfit or obnoxious edits, but Jannelli makes each visual transition feel natural.
When “The Velvet Underground” is first premiered on screen, you’re privileged with a complete contrast in animation quality and style that fits the psychedelic and nonsensical overtones of the band’s performance. The narration aligns perfectly other these segments, especially when he describes facial features and the band’s unusual use of their instruments. These segments are unbelievably detailed to the point you’ll question whether or not there’s a filter over an old videotape. The surreal impact the performance had on the narrator offers the audience the same sense of nostalgia; the film makes us think of our own bizarre memories while it effectively establishes its own positive perspective on taboo music.
“The Velvet Underground Played At My High School” shows the director’s competence in presentation. The long, yet simple name welcomes the viewer to a story you can sit down and listen to, to gain further perspective on the revolutionary music of the 1960s. The band segments alone are enough to sell the film’s tone, but the overall production shows Jannelli’s proficiency in film-making.