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Monday, 16 March 2009

Signe Baumane "Dentist"







You'd never guess that Latvian born Signe Baumane was mentored in animation by Bill Plympton. Can you imagine Bill making a film about a dentist with both feet pressed up against the chin of the patient as he yanks the tooth out? Dentist (2005) is not for the squeamish. To the sound of a drill going off fully loaded, we enter the surgery of the dentist with the big glasses. He is reluctantly joined by the patient with the big abscess. The two are destined to do battle. My own dentist's love for sport mirrors mine though our opinions are not necessarily in harmony, differences tending to be one sided in their resolution. Signe's dentist wages an unequal struggle utilising all the technological aids of the day to get to the root of the problem. I confess a stick lodged between upper and lower canines is something unknown to me in my rural backwater though in the rarefied atmosphere of a famous film director's dental haunts such practices might pass muster. Anyway, there is something decidedly fishy about the whole business - ever since Lawrence Olivier in Marathon Man I've harboured suspicions about the profession. Signe's style is certainly Plymptonesque in that it is exaggerated, ruthless, and always with an eye for the absurd as she hones in on her subject. In fact a dentist is the perfect target for Signe whose other work has laid bare the business of sex, a subject she likes talking about. After studying for a degree in Philosophy in Moscow, Signe joined Riga's Animated Film Studio until, after making a number of films, she made her way to New York in 1995 where she obtained employment in Bill's studio and from there her career has snowballed. (Visit her website.) There are five very short additions to the Dentist series providing information on such essentials as the mole or anesthesia. A trawl of YouTube will reveal them; though as my birthday is coming up shortly I have tactfully requested that my wife purchase Signe's DVD Ten Animated Films for the princely sum of $30, including P&P.

15 comments:

Georgina said...

Hi!
Does anyone remember another animated short about a dentist which was televised on British terrestial TV (BBC1/BBC2/ITV/Channel 4) 20 years ago?
Basically, all you saw was the inside of a man's mouth and saw ridiculous dental procedures being done with commentary from his dentist, his garbled replies and then another "dentist" who turned out to be an escaped psychiatric patient?

Thanks, Miss GASP

Emrys Eustace, hygt Broom said...

Georgina: Saw it, and loved it! It was part of film showing winners of an animated shorts festival. The lunatic was obsessed with the film, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre".

Still looking for it online!

Emrys Eustace, hygt Broom said...

And... I just found it! "An Inside Job", made in 1987. It's on Youtube.

"An Inside Job"

Hygienist School said...

Thanks a lot guys I really like this post..

Jen said...

I think my Orange County dentist told me about this movie. As much as I would love to watch it with my kids, it might further increase their fear.

Ian Lumsden said...

Decay's preferable, Jen.

Gail said...

Animated movies could be a form of dental marketing.

Helen said...

This kind of animation is only for adults. Do not show this to kids. It will only instill fears in their mind because it's too graphic for a child to understand.
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Bridgette @ MyFamilyLifeBlog said...

Me and my dentist in Rock Hill had a few laughs about this film. It's true at some point.

Becky said...

I saw this film right before my appointment for teeth whitening north hollywood ca. Needless to say, my nerves could have been better when I reached the clinic!

Marco Phillipstein said...

What we need is a good animated cartoon that teach the importance of a good oral hygiene especially for the children. Using a show can greatly help us.

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dentist in germantown tn said...

That's a really gruesome dental scene, I hope that won't happen in real life.

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Victor O. Colon said...

Its a good movie.I will show it to my patients.But this kind of animation is only for adults. Do not show this to kids. They might get afraid, and it's too graphic for a child to understand.