Monday, March 28, 2011

Short Film: Ring of Fire (Germany, 2000)

"We never fell. We never even stumbled. We just waited for the spirits to rise from out of the ground."

Written, directed and designed by Andreas Hykade and animated by Ged Haney, Andreas Hykade and Anita Ortega, Ring of Fire is a production of the German animation studio Film Bilder, an under-appreciated little firm in Stuttgart that has been around for over twenty years and has made a plethora of true animated visual treats, many just as amazing as the one chosen as this month's feature short film. The tale told here to the at times wonderfully ironic county-tinged music composed by Steffen Kahles is, on a visual level, not one for prudes and, at one point or another, easily features all of the seven deadly sins – wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. But the sins are not what the film is about; much more so, it is about that which its title, taken from the classic country song, infers.
As anyone with half a brain knows, Johnny Cash's classic country pop song Ring of Fire (written by his then future wife June Carter and currently #87 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time") is an ode to falling in love – as one line in the song puts it: "Love is like a burning ring of fire." And though the song never is heard in this roughly 15 minute film, the allusion is clear, for love is a major aspect of this B&W visual smörgåsbord of a morality play.
True, due to the overflow of erotic and sensual imagery the initial impression is that the film is more about sex than anything else, but in the end Ring of Fire reveals itself to be truly about love – not to mention forgiveness and redemption.

Surreal, beautiful, disturbing, sensual, enthralling: Ring of Fire.

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