Aardman | Young Arnolfini

Early Aardman Short

Animation, Reflection

As a child, I didn’t have many videos (remember them?!) and I ended up having a mix of kids videos and my dads videos that he deemed okay for me to watch. One of them was a collection of Aardman shorts, which contained nice little films such as creature comforts and the music video for “My baby just cares for me” by Nina Simone (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYSbUOoq4Vg) which are all nice and entertaining! But there was also Ident – a short made in 1990 and directed by Richard Goleszowski.

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For a child, it was quite an unnerving film, and the source of several nightmares! But over the years, we lost the video and got rid of the VHS player, and I kind of forgot about it. Until the other day where I was reminded of it and tracked it down. Here it is:

Watching it again was a really weird experience. The first time, I found myself thinking “this wasn’t so bad! Its even quite funny in places” and then I realised that I understood some of the situations that the character was going through. Rather than seeing it as a series of unfortunate events happening to this weird finger, I saw it as a snapshot of a day in the life of a man. I had to go watch it again.

After seeing it a second time I understood it a lot better. Its the story of man making his way from home, to work, then to a bar, all within the confines of colourless city walls, then finally ending up in a completely new, colourful and free space.

During the film, it feels like you can see so many different ideas represented. At the start, you see the man talking to what I presume is his wife. He seems to charge off after a fight, leaving her literally in pieces. At his work, you see his boss making him feel small, then watch him getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city. The scene at the bar is my favourite because you watch him relaxing with a friend, and I swear I hear people talking exactly like they do sometimes!

I feel that the whole film shows how you can portray different sides of yourself and a two-faced nature. You see the effects other people have on his appearance and how he uses a mask depending on who he is talking to. At the end, it seems as though it all becomes too much for him (resulting in the really weird scene with the eyes!) and he manages to find a way out. There he is free to be himself, not worrying about what anyone thinks of him. (of course, there’s that final scene with the poking that I can’t seem to work out! Does anyone have any suggestions? I’ll let you know if I make some sense of it!)

But I found it really weird experiencing this short again, and realising that it was more than just a weird animation and had a lot of meaning behind it!
Still kind of disturbing though.

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