Death: A perilous subject that is often hard to discuss, yet a disparaging reality that we can’t ignore. At some point or another life comes to an end; often too soon (unexpected tragedies) for many. Death has a way of creeping it’s way into the atmosphere and producing havoc, and the events within the past few weeks over in the Middle East are a clear indication of the destruction that the undertaker (death) can cause.
Openly discussing subjects such as death are sometimes viewed as taboo in various societies (while others rivel in it), but in the world of creativity and expression through film, death is an excellent subject matter for thought provoking revelations.
Films have the power to create change, inspire conscious thought, or just entertain merely through comedy, drama, or sheer violence.
The topic of death in films is often driven by raw violence and senseless killing, or at the least some form of revenge. However, in the short film The Backwater Gospel, death takes the form of a deeper sociological commentary, as well as a disturbing outbreak of violence.
The Backwater Gospel is a stunning (yet disturbing) thought provoking animated short film from The Animation Workshop. For those of you who may not know, The Animation Workshop is one of the world’s leading animation studios and it’s based in Denmark. For years the animators their have executed remarkable projects and The Backwater Gospel is one of the projects from 2011 that made quite a statement.
So what exactly is the film about? Well it’s the story of the Undertaker(death) coming to town and the religious folks quivering with fear at the thought of who death is coming to get. Which in contrast to the beliefs of their religion and the preaching of the pastor, they shouldn’t be living in fear. Yet, fear is a powerful weapon and it begins to consume the small town and the Church members. Shortly afterwards, the fear leads to a murderous rampage being unleashed in the town. And what about death? Well, the Undertaker sits back and watches the chaos unfold.
This film caught my attention for a few reasons. First off, I must say that the animation and overall characterization is impeccable; expect nothing less than greatness from The Animation Workshop. Secondly, the film touches on the social commentary of religion and the chaos that can be caused on one’s own accord. Death didn’t have to even lift a finger, the “saints” acted on their “unholy nature” and took actions into their own hands–casting the first stone on the town’s apparent “sinner.”
Of course, I don’t want to spoil every aspect of the short film and all the events that unfold, so I highly recommend you watch the hauntingly disturbing film for yourself. I’ve given you the gist of the film, but you need to watch for yourself and formulate your own opinion of it. It’s a little under ten minutes in runtime and you will surely be left staring at your computer screen analyzing the events that proceeded death’s arrival.
I must officially declare that I, Pet Goat II is the best animated short film I’ve ever seen. Never in my life have I been so intellectually and emotionally drawn to an animated short film, but I, Pet Goat II is a film that beckons for your complete attention. Don’t even dare attempting to multi-task while watching this film, because you will miss out on some powerful symbols that evoke theoretical thought and the abstract reality of “the fire at the heart of suffering.”
As I aforementioned, the film takes a look at “the fire at the heart of suffering.” I, Pet Goat II truly captures some of the defining moments that shape our history, as well as socio-political messages that deserve hours of intense intellectual conversation. I could try to breakdown every aspect of the film’s message, but I’ll leave that up to y’all.
Many folks out there are dissecting this video and breaking down each symbol, but Andrew S. Allen over at Short of the Week sums it up best. He said,
“I, Pet Goat II is a difficult film to dissect, but I’ll give it a try. First, the story is less of a narrative and more like an interpretive dance of modern travesties—America’s war on terror, religious fundamentalism, militarianism in Aftrica, totalitarianism in China, and exploitation all over the world (some of which may seem a little heavy-handed to us Americans). It’s packed with loaded symbols used to remix pop culture into a new mythology complete with surreal landscapes and zany characters.”
The short filmed is by a new Canadian animation studio Heliofant and it just proves that surrealism isn’t dead, it’s alive…and packed with riveting socio-political commentary.
©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com
SubWars is basically this animated short about this old man who goes on a rampage on the subway (his weapon of choice is so Star Wars inspired), all because nobody would offer up their seat. Moral of the story? Next time you see an elderly person on the train or bus, give up your seat. It’s called respect. Or else, you could be pissing off some elder who is a master killer and highly trained in the art of ultimate rampage.
©Jasmine McGee.ThinkSoul25. http://thinksoul25.com