Sunday, September 11, 2011

She Was the One

Directed By The Rauch Brothers, USA, 2011, 2 minutes and 38 seconds.
Source: StoryCorps

"She Was the One," featured in the DC Short Film Festival, is a tragic animated cartoon about an engaged couple named Richie and Karen. Richie, in his own words, tells the story of how he fell in love with his fiance and lost her in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. He goes into the tender details of their engagement, explains how she changed his life, what he will remember about her and what he recalls of the horrible morning she died. The style of the animation provides a stark contrast against the somber content. Richie and Karen's depictions were much more like caricatures than true to life drawings. The short featured so many light-hearted images, such as Richie floating in the air with hearts in his eyes when he first sees Karen (much like how Scooby-Doo was drawn when he saw a dog treat).

In my opinion this film wasn't too technically or aesthetically impressive, but it does have a large impact on the audience. The film could not be topped in terms of pertinence. I saw the film at the Shorts festival on Thursday, September 8th, when the media rememberance coverage of the tragedy occuring on 9/11/01 had already begun to dominate the airwaves. It first premiered on YouTube and the StoryCorps website on September 6th. While the World Trade Center attacks happened ten years ago, in our nation's eyes, it is still very much a current event. Creating a less than three minute long short that takes on something of such significance, but still can engage and entice the audience, is an accomplishment.

In the last five days, the short has gotten 92,718 views on Youtube, not including the exposure it has gotten from the StoryCorps website and being featured on the PBS website. This film becomes significant when considering the context it has been released in. Comparing it to other shorts may not be as important as comparing it to the other pieces of art or programming dedicated to the World Trade Center tragedy. "She Was the One" felt simple and personal, sad and sweet. The illustration style was creative and had much more personality than other acts of remembrance. The use of segments of a real interview with Richie and his candidness about his experience makes the film's subject much more about their relationship than about 9/11. As opposed to trying the capture the sentiments of a national tragedy, this short does exactly what the form is good for, focus. With any national disaster, we have the tendency to get lost in scale. In the wave of 9/11 mainstream media coverage, which at times can generalize and bite off more than it can chew, this short is a refreshing take. I would recommend taking a look at the other shorts StoryCorps dedicates to the stories of 9/11 and even their other memoir style shorts.


Anastasia Crittenton said...

This was such a beautiful but heartbreaking video. I think the adjective I'd use overall would be sobering. Your note of how the animation is in stark contrast to the content is something to take note of. There was, obviously, a reason why the animators did this and it's interesting to speculate why. Perhaps it is just their style or they wanted to show a strong contrast while still linking the two together.

Overall, a very humbling experience!

Alex said...

Very Powerful video, with great animation. I felt like I was walking in this man's shoes, and it is very important to personalize certain experiences.

haley schattner said...

Kate, thank you for sharing that with us. Animation is one of the few forms of film that can depict a terrible and sad event in an acknowledging and powerful tone. The animation, I agree, is not spectacular, but its simplicity tells the story in all the detail the audience needs. He is in love, if his voice does not express that, then the hearts in his eyes and the undisplayed glittering of her eyes, do.