I AIN'T GONNA SUFFER
by: PRINDIE Senior Programmer ALEX KIM
Alex is a mathematics major at Princeton University, where he has also studied film theory and screenplay writing.
I Ain’t Gonna Suffer is a film and a poem. It is the work of Jennifer Klockner, and it is a personal work in every respect, from the inclusion of home video footage from her childhood to the strikingly original way in which its animation was created and plays out (which I’ll talk about soon), and it’s therefore brave in a way that many if not most filmmakers would not dare to be. It’s also hopeful, in an unironic, uncynical way. That’s a quality that isn’t particularly fashionable right now, and it’s another testament to Klockner’s courage and her honesty.
The best moments in this film offer that sort of honesty in spades. At one point we hear about the experience of “looking for a triple A that you know you don’t have, so you steal them from the remote,” an experience that is recognizably real, and funny. But then Klockner describes a mother’s and father’s responses to that action, and those responses make it even more real, and more funny, and it’s then that you start to marvel at Klockner’s ability to get the things she’s describing exactly right, to remember her childhood as though she had a door directly back into it.
Most of the images in the film come from a zoetrope that Klockner built herself, out of a bicycle wheel. The zoetrope strips she makes, and then animates in stop-motion, abound with her imagination: some are drawings and paintings; others break into the three-dimensional world, as when Lego bricks appear to grow out of nothing and then fall toward us, out of the zoetrope. Each of these images ties in with a section or a line of the titular poem, which Klockner wrote. Sometimes the tie-in is very clear (leading, in one instance, to a moment that’s both funny and surprisingly moving when we see the strip that accompanies a line involving torn pants) and others deal with the poem more abstractly; but it always makes sense, and all of it contributes to I Ain’t Gonna Suffer’s larger picture, a wonderful picture of the growing up one has already done and the growing up there is still left to do.