Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alma


ALMA
Directed and written by Rodrigo Blaas
Spain, 2009, 5 and a half minutes

I had been planning on talking about Pixar's Geri's Game when this animated short by former Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas was linked to me. I watched this film and was absolutely blown away. I do want to say that you must watch the film before reading the rest of this entry as it is not a film you want to be spoiled for.

The concept of this film is a rather simple one. A young girl, Alma, is walking through the snow-covered streets of a town when she sees a doll that resembles her in the window of a shop. The door opens on its own and she goes in, her doll seeming to disappear and reappear until she finds it on a shelf. When she touches it, there is a flash of images and suddenly the only sound is her breathing and the view now from the doll's eyes, looking around frantically. Alma has become her doll. The end of the film is another doll slowly coming up in the frame of the window, showing the next victim.

When a friend initially linked this to me, she mentioned it was creepy but I could have never predicted this. This film flows nicely but is entirely incongruous within itself, leaving its ending entirely in the dark and surprising for the ending. It's one of the most satisfying endings I have seen in a film, short or feature-length, because I didn't seen it coming and it was appropriately terrifying in its simplicity and lack of explanation. The start of the film seems humble and charming with its airy, pleasant score to the sight of a young girl walking in the snow. There is nothing ominous at its beginning which gives the audience a false sense of security which, in turn, is what makes the subsequent scenes in the store so much more haunting.

For the animation itself, it is soft in its line and Blaas' past with Pixar is extremely evident. It's very charming in its fantasy-like European setting and wins over the audience from the very start of the film. Blaas does an excellent job at setting up the most simplest of scenarios but still making the scene that comes next unknown to the audience, leaving them in the dark. When Alma becomes the doll, the audience is entirely unsuspecting of it. There was, clearly, something strange about the shop but the audience, like Alma, could not have predicted what.

This animated short is absolutely now one of my favorites and I think it was executed in a very mature and meticulous manner. I highly recommend it to anyone.

3 comments:

KTC said...

Why is it that dolls get such a bad rap? Chucky? It's amazing how filmmakers can twist the innocence of a child's toy into a nightmare. The animation has a tangibility to it that makes it all appear very real and I love the part where the man on the bicycle keeps running into the door as if he's trying to get out, a warning sign to Alma. The whimsical clarinet plays on the emotions of the viewer in a deceitful way.

haley schattner said...

I agree that this film is creepy, but it does have a satisfying ending. The ending throws me off. I thought that her doll appears in the beginning because she wrote her name on the wall. But, in the end, when we see the next victim, there is no little girl standing and scratching her name on the wall. Thank you for sharing this film. I really enjoy all of the characters they design with the dolls--I think that is the beauty of Pixar films.

Anonymous said...

I love this animated short...does anyone know which 3D software was used in the making?