Don Hertzfeldt’s Oscar-nominated short film “Rejected” is a true classic of the internet era, a nine-minute collection of escalating surrealism that’s inspired any number of nihilistic, often Adult Swim-based imitators over the last 18 years, plus god knows how many people irritating their significant others with an unprompted “My anus is bleeding!” or “My spoon is too big!”
But despite the era in which his short film came to prominence—getting passed around via animation film festivals or DVDs—Hertzfeldt has always been leery of internet uploads of the film. Not, reportedly, because of financial pressures (in case you weren’t clear on his feelings on the intersection of capitalism and art, you might want to watch the film again), but because it meant he didn’t have control over the quality of the upload. But no more! Just a few days ago, the World Of Tomorrow mastermind uploaded an HD remaster of “Rejected” to his YouTube channel, in all its starkly brilliant glory.
Created for a Blu-ray re-release of most of his collected works that was released in 2015, the “Rejected” remaster is, in some ways, a strange thing to see: The roughness of the original version has always felt of a part with its satire of commercial art, and it’s unsettling to see these characters looking quite so crisp and miserable.
Luckily, if you really need to see the original instead, Hertzfeldt has you covered: He uploaded the original version of the short—complete with text annotations that also go steadily insane—back in 2011.