World of Tomorrow (2015)
Dir: Don Hertzfeldt
With the distinctive animation style of Don Hertzfeldt, this short film manages to be both poignant and touching in the short sixteen minute running time, while touching on more sci-fi themes that you would expect!
A little girl is contacted by a future clone of herself, telling her about all the developments of the future, however all is not right with the coming world.
I was previously introduced to his work through ‘Rejected’, also nominated for an Academy Award back in 2000. His surreal style is mainly simple line drawings combined with more abstract backgrounds and objects.
Hertzfeldt was initially worried about working in the sci-fi genre, fearing it would impose constraints. He has clearly found a way to counteract that completely, even drawing on it to his advantage. The film in its short running time deals with themes of the future, robotics, human cloning, extinction, love, all in meaningful but abstract ways.
As with the rest of his work (as much as I’ve seen so far) this is very darkly comic, overall really quite bleak though there are moments you could laugh at. There’s also a sweet and charming side to it, provided through the conversation between Emily Clone, a woman of the future, and Emily Prime, a little girl. The film and story would lack sweetness if it wasn’t for the little girl whose responses are so natural. I’m not sure exactly how her dialogue was elicited but it doesn’t feel forced or even scripted, there’s a childlike wonder and honesty to it that adds a lot of charm and completely rings true of a child talking to someone from the future about things that are far beyond their comprehension.
Yes it’s odd, and if you don’t like odd then you’re likely to get to the end of this and ask ‘What was all that about?’ or ‘What was the point of that?’. If you’re one of those people, don’t bother, it’s highly unlikely to be for you. However if you embrace abstract art, thoughts, and surreal films, this is a near-perfect animated short. I’ll have to make sure my brother-in-law who is an animator knows about this, it’s right up his street!
As with most good shorts I feel it’s worth recommending you watch them if you can, it’s only going to take 16 minutes of your time yet offers a style of animation and storyelling that’s not to be seen in any other films I’ve seen in this year’s awards season contenders, or any other film I’ve seen in a while!
It has won loads of awards already but is now nominated for ‘Best Animated Short’ at this years Oscars. Unlike most of the shorts that are notoriously difficult to see, this thankfully is available to watch on Netflix in some territories. For a taster the trailer is on YouTube here!