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Heavy Traffic

Heavy Traffic is a 1973 American adult animated drama film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi. The film, which begins, ends, and occasionally combines with live-action, explores the often surreal fantasies of a young New York cartoonist named Michael Corleone, using pinball imagery as a metaphor for inner-city life. Heavy Traffic was Bakshi and producer Steve Krantz's follow-up to the film Fritz the Cat. Though producer Krantz made varied attempts to produce an R-rated film, Heavy Traffic was given an X rating by the MPAA. The film received largely positive reviews and is widely considered to be Bakshi's biggest critical success.

Plot

The film begins in live-action and introduces the protagonist Michael Corleone, a 22-year-old virgin playing pinball in New York City. The scene then transitions into an animated and dangerous New York neighborhood. Michael's Italian father, Angelo "Angie" Corleone, is a struggling mafioso who frequently cheats on Michael's Jewish mother, Ida. The couple constantly bicker and try to kill each other. The unemployed Michael dabbles in cartoons and often wanders throughout the city to avoid family skirmishes and to artistically feed off the grubbiness of his environment. He regularly hangs out at a local bar where he gets free drinks from the female black bartender, Carole, in exchange for sketches of the somewhat annoying Shorty, Carole's violent, legless bouncer devotee. One of the regular customers at the bar, a nymphomaniac transvestite named Snowflake, gets beaten up by a tough drunk hard-hat who has only just realized that Snowflake is a man in drag and not a beautiful woman. Snowflake loves it, but the drunk causes property damage. Shorty throws the drunk out and the bar's white manager abusively confronts Carole over this. Fed up with her manager, Carole quits.

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