Blind Vaysha / Vaysha L’aveugle (2016)
Dir: Theodore Ushev
This short fable with its distinctive animation style and aptly-presented premise really stands out in the animated shorts category this year.
Vaysha is born blind with respects to being able to see the present, with one eye that sees only the past and the other seeing only the future, giving her a unique view of the world.
Surprisingly the story isn’t taken from centuries-old writings but based on a modern short story by Georgi Gospodinov who is a Bulgarian author and poet. It has the feel of a classic fable, telling the story of a person with an extraordinary ability that makes us ponder on a lesson about our own lives.
The director has a distinctive animation style, taking inspiration from medieval drawings. This style really stands out and works well with the era the tale is set in, as well as reinforcing that feeling of a classic folk tale. The film also makes fantastic use of a split screen style to show Vaysha’s view of the world, with her left and right eyes seeing the past and present of what’s before her, the interval between these changing depending on what she’s looking at.
With narration throughout and some brief dialogue, the film is clear enough as to not be considered abstract. Also it doesn’t just leave the moral of the story open to interpretation, the end of the film speaks directly to the viewer and asks them to consider Vaysha’s plight. It’s a bold move but I think it just about works, setting in stone the moral of the story that was already pretty clear.
It’s a brilliant short film that had my attention completely for the 8 minutes and has stuck with me since as the concept is so interesting and the film makes full use of it visually. I’d be interested to see how the proposed virtual reality version turns out as that could be such an interesting experience, putting viewers even more into Vaysha’s unique situation.
‘Blind Vaysha’ is nominated at the Academy Awards for the ‘Best Animated Short’ Oscar. It’s up against some very tough competition this year so I wouldn’t give it high chances of winning but as with all the other shorts I’ve seen it’s worth that little bit of time to enjoy something very creative and different.