Your Short Film of the Day

Need a break? Some distraction? Here’s a little something to take you away.

We’re stuck at home, obsessing about the news, worrying about our families, worrying about our job situation. We need a break! So every day, our writers will share a short film, a scene, an inexplicable clip that they love. We hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

March 30, 2020

Bodies in Abstract Motion

By Kyle Turner

The experimental filmmaker Jodie Mack is secretly one of the best directors of musicals working today, with prism-paletted stop-motion animation collages set to the sounds of Skype ringtones or her own original music. One of my favorite professors introduced me to her work in college, including this 2016 short “Curses,” a quasi-music video for the bedroom pop band Roommate.

Rather than jumping immediately into her animation, she moves languidly and dreamlike from falling confetti bits, shot horizontally like a river stream of remnants of a birthday party, to her marble printed paper, snipped and pruned, various shades layered one on top of the other.

Mack’s filmmaking and editing to music and sound aren’t overly presentational, but feel organic, as if her images and audio are inextricably finding natural and symbiotic rhythms in one another. Her relationship to music and picture dazzles without showiness.

In “Curses,” there’s whimsy, frivolity and a simple challenge to the viewer to be carried along by color and sound. Mack’s work is special because it finds a complexity in emotion — ebullience, subtle melancholy, even thrill — in deceptively simple animations (though the work obviously requires a lot of labor on Mack’s part).

In these gorgeous abstractions, you can see or imagine hands touching, bodies flailing, the silhouettes of people dancing, and finally, two people running to one another as if they’re floating on a gentle, multicolored fantasy.

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