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Short Film Wednesday - The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa

When life gets in the way, yet you still want to continue your film education, here is a short film that you can slip in during a spare moment of the day.

The Metamorphosis is one of those texts that lasts because it is so baffling yet so abundantly clear at the same time. My fiance helps out with her family business, and many of her employees are high school students. One of them showed a clear enthusiasm for the text, which they were reading for class, even giving a thoughtful, unprompted interpretation of what Gregor Samsa’s new state could represent. I won’t bother to say what he thought because it was absolutely right, and it wasn’t.

This beautiful animated short exists in that same fluidity as the text does. I am not overly familiar with sand animation, but I can see why an artist might be attracted to the medium. Images flow into each other seamlessly and great effects that seem to take up volumes of space can be achieved on a two dimensional surface. In live action, such effects would be logistically burdensome, but in animation it’s achieved with considerably less labor. If the dialogue is somewhat muted and garbled, it does not detract from the eerie beauty of the piece. In fact, it may be intentional, so that we focus on the images and the mood that it evokes in us.

Caroline Leaf is a new name to me personally, but she is someone I would like to learn more about. It is rare that a woman is touted as a great animator, much less a Canadian woman, and her work is so bizarre and entrancing that it borders on the abstract, even though she often animates fairy and children’s tales. In a way though, it is precisely these types of stories in which the bizarre is so widely accepted and great changes happen all the time, so it wasn’t that big of a stretch that she would have looked to Kafka’s famous text for inspiration.

 

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