I MET THE WALRUS: John Lennon On The Brain


John Lennon on the brain today. Something in the air, the universe. Why fight it? It’s all good.

Here’s the Oscar nominated animated short I MET THE WALRUS. According to the film’s web site:

In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview. This was in the midst of Lennon’s “bed-in” phase, during which John and Yoko were staying in hotel beds in an effort to promote peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon’s every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries traditional pen sketches by James Braithwaite with digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell-binding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit, and timeless message.

The original interview was about 26 minutes long (another report I read claimed 40), but Raskin cut the interview down to just under 5 for his animated short. In his interview with Shortend Magazine, Raskin stated:

“What I was really interested in though was the recording itself, was this document that Jerry had been keeping locked away in a dark dungeon, hiding in his house for 38-some years. So I wrestled that out of his hands, listened to it a bunch of times and knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, which was to cut it down to about five minutes, a manageable length, and animate directly to it…

That was easily the most difficult part of the filmmaking process for me… It’s John Lennon, and so every single thing he said was endlessly poetic, endlessly profound and absolute genius. So the hardest bit was deciding what not to include as opposed to what to include.

What I tried to do was to make it a back-and-forth narrative interview. So there’s the question and the answer, the question and the answer, where the actual full version is a little more meandering and ramblely. We definitely had to lose some bits that were absolutely brilliant and hilarious. Sometimes you have to shoot your babies when you’re editing I think, but we’re pretty happy with the bits that are left over.”

So, without further ado, here ’tis:

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I MET THE WALRUS: John Lennon On The Brain

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