New movie Anomalisa, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Kaufman and Duke Johnson, is a modern-day story about love and alienation that was beautifully and meticulously crafted using stop-motion animation. In conjunction with the film’s release, Museum of the Moving Image will present The World of Anomalisa, an installation of two sets and puppets used in the film. From December 18, 2015 through March 27, 2016, the installation will be on view as part of Behind the Screen, the Museum’s core exhibition, which explores how movies are made, marketed, and shown.
A Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Film, Anomalisa tells the story of Michael Stone, husband, father, and respected self-help author, who checks into a Cleveland hotel on a business trip and discovers a possible escape from the tedium of his life in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales rep, Lisa, who may or may not be the love of his life.
The installation will feature puppets of Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis) and Lisa Hesselman (Jennifer Jason Leigh), each measuring about a foot high. They will be presented on the set of Michael’s room at the Fregoli Hotel where much of the intimate action takes place. A second set measuring more than twelve feet long, of a nighttime Cleveland street where Michael enters a “toy” store to buy his young son a gift, will also be on view. These objects will be accompanied by video of related scenes from the film.
“Barely a foot high, these remarkably expressive puppets carry the emotional weight of this provocative movie,” said Chief Curator David Schwartz. “Anomalisa is a great artistic accomplishment, a film that uses incredible craftsmanship at the service of a very touching story about love and identity.”
In conjunction with the installation, Reverse Shot, the Museum’s online publication, will post a video interview with Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson as they explore the Museum’s core exhibition Behind the Screen. Anomalisa opens in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on December 30, and nationwide in January.
Below see how sculptor Carol Koch designed the film’s characters.