Winner of the 2009 Oscar award of Best Animated Short Film, this delightful and melancholic film is easily one of my favorite films of all time.
The use of flood water to express how the weight of years passed soon outnumber the hope of years to come, is as effective as the message of how keeping ones head above water can become harder and harder. Watching the old man dive down, layer by layer, offers a sense of hope and acceptance of what has passed in a dramatically simple manner – let yourself fall and your mind will do the rest.
The aesthetic of this beautiful film is two-dimensional and sketched, showing a temporary nature to our homes, whilst showing a society that has learned to adapt to the changing environment. History exists beneath the water, and with it the drowning pain of loss, and whilst his house, the present, pierces the waves, many rooftops lie beneath. A deeply sad, yet pragmatic film.
A little indulgence on my part here. I was head over heels with the implications brought forth by the book ‘A World Without Us‘, a clever thought experiment about what the world would look like in the years to come if humans dropped off the world stage tomorrow (with some poignant messages about our environmental impact sneakily woven in). The scenery from this looks like someone illustrated that exact book. Gorgeous animation with sharp, immediate sound design. The plot doesn’t really go anywhere, but it’s pretty and easy, and if you need evidence of something substantial, maybe it’s talking about drones. Sure.
Dolls are creepy to begin with; they’re the manifestation of a person’s desire to recreate themselves, and so have a vested interest in looking marginally disturbing. They are frequently and overtly child-like in appearance too, and this short plays on both themes to bring you an altogether terrifying piece of art, bundled into what appears to be a light-hearted story. Don’t be fooled.
This isn’t terribly well animated, but it is well paced and is a delightful contrast to the usual ‘you don’t know how much time you have, so make the most of it.’. It says ‘you do know much time you have left; not much. So make the most of it.’ Makes me ache.
At first I thought this was about cities. I watched it again, and I think it’s about the diminishing city and the role we should play in reducing our impact on the environment, and therefore about integration with nature. It’s minimalist, peaceful and a little foreboding.