That’s Life

Videos created by Levni Yilmaz, a local cartoonist, have received 12 million views on YouTube. Did he get hit in the balls while cartooning? Drink Diet Coke and eat Mentos while cartooning? No, it’s nothing like that. He just films himself drawing from the other side of the paper, a simple, exquisite form of animation that Picasso and director Henri-George Clouzot pioneered in 1956 for The Mysteries of Picasso. Only the ink is visible on the screen, appearing through the sheet, blooming into art. Actually, Yilmaz is both a filmmaker and a cartoonist, since his series of videos, “Tales of Mere Existence,” also features narration, careful editing, and storylines with a little or a lot of sadness, depending on your worldview. His main character, presumably based on himself, due to the hair, wanders limply through his young, aimless life, pining for love, scared of everything, trying to find happiness, hoping for a good stretch of sleep or a girl who will spend a little time or the rest of her life with him. It’s a bleak, existential outlook, glowing with the mundane — you’ve been there. Everybody’s been there, hence the 12 million views. Along the way Yilmaz has released his work in book form a couple of times, but never published by Random House. Sunny Side Down, released this month, features typical “Tales” storylines: There’s one about his mother calling him on the phone, that's it, and another with the title, “What I Thought My Life Would Be Like When I Used to Look at My Dad’s Old Playboy Magazines.”
Thu., July 16, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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