By Merle Bertrand | February 6, 2002

Every now and then, a film comes along that simply defies description. “Populi” is just such a film. Director David Russo’s mini-masterpiece is all about its visuals. Literally. There’s no narrative here. Indeed Russo, who created the film as a commissioned work for the city of Seattle, intends for the film to play as a continuous silent loop tape, visible from the freeway, on the city’s brand new football stadium. “Populi” is a brilliant stop-motion animation of a vaguely humanoid figure mystically tearing through various urban and rural settings. For non-stadium showings, Russo wisely sets the piece to Gustav Holst’s thunderous anthem “Bringer of War”; possibly the most appropriate unintended mixture of audio with visuals I’ve ever seen. “Populi” is a pounding non-stop swirl of energy, color and visual stimulation; an indescribable, unforgettable and utterly breathtaking homage to the power and beauty of traditional stop-motion animation. Check this out fast, if at all possible, even if it means a road trip up to Seattle. Trust me, “Populi” is far more entertaining than the Seahawks can ever hope to be.

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