Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Short Film: Alma (Spain, 2009)

Rodrigo Blaas has worked as an animator for many years now on popular big-budgeted animated masterpieces such as Ice Age (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), WALL•E (2008) and Up (2009); Alma is his first solo short film, and what a film it is. Well accompanied by a score by Nacho Mastretta, Blaas's award-winning short is without a doubt one of the most beautifully made computer animated short films around – and one of the most seriously disturbing.
Opening with a fabulous long shot across the winter-time roofs of an unknown European city that travels slowly down to show Alma, a cute little girl, frolicking down a snow-covered street, the film quickly moves into the territory of Twilight Zone from Hell. The tale told is beautifully rendered and the narrative as tight as it is short — and, possibly, predictable — but the horror of the events leaves a terrible sense of despair and sorrow, even for those who do not have children. And while the film shows no blood and no violence, it could easily instigate nightmares for both small children and their parents.

What did Alma do to deserve her fate? Nothing — she is a cute if mischievous child, but hardly horrid and in no way of deserving of that which befalls her. And possibly worst of all: she is actually still alive, capable of seeing and thinking — could there be a worse hell on earth than what she, now one of many, is cursed to live forever?

Alma is a beautiful film, a terrible film — a film well worth watching. But be forewarned…

The official Alma website is here.

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