Monday, October 17, 2011

Eating Sand

Eating Sand
Aaron Stewart
Country Unknown
Uploaded in 2009

Sometimes you watch something that asks more questions than it answers. This short is one of those things. It begs questions like, what is this, who did this, and why? The information that the poster/creator gives you does not answer any of these questions.

But when you think about, your reaction to the short mirrors the plot (if you can call it that) of the short itself. You stumble upon a strange person doing a strange thing and begin to repeatedly question them. In the short the bird gets his answer in the form of an explanation that seems completely ridiculous to us. The viewer of the short does not get a ridiculous explanation from the short itself, but I think I may have provided one.

But this brings me to a larger point about animation, especially in short film. We have no real idea whether or not the explanation that Billy gave to the bird was ridiculous in the context of the world they exist in. All animated films, movies and shows create a world with rules that different than ours. As long as these rules are internally consistent then we simply accept the creative license that the animators are taking.

However, in a short film, there is no time for the rules of the world to be established. Eating sand is a great example of this because it is so short. We have no idea what if what is going on here is at all normal in this world. Do all of the things there speak in a series of horn notes? Could one house a civilization of sand castle building insects in his stomach? I have no idea, and neither do you.

Now this is not to say that animation cannot be successful in a short film. I love animated shorts. But I think to make them successfully, one has to understand that they work best when they are using surprise. Whether this surprise is unnerving, funny, or (in the case of Eating Sand) just odd, I think that if a short like this can come along and surprise us, then it is not a waste of time.

1 comment:

haley schattner said...

I am not sure if I care for the story as much as I care for the style of the animation. It's collage-like animation works beautifully with the musical notes of the two character's voices. I like that the story though is odd or ridiculous because it is amazing that these two different species can even communicate with one another. Maybe the alligator is saying one thing and the bird is hearing something else? We don't know who's story comprehension we are learning.