GoCritic! Capsule Review: Apart
by Grace Han
- We take a look at the impressive, short animated documentary made at Prague's FAMU, which is now screening at Annecy right after it was shown at Animafest Zagreb
Diana Cam Van Nguyen's short film Apart is a must-see homage to parenthood. This animated documentary brings together three accounts of losing a parent at a young age: one to a car accident, another to illness and the last to suicide. The three tales intertwine onscreen, translating shock, grief and acceptance into various sombre forms, ranging from abstract paintings to honest, live home videos.
The film opens with words which the narrators associate with their deceased parent. "A great friend." "Love and security." "Childhood." Then the first voice - slowly but surely - begins to recount the pain he feels on mentioning his mother. We see thick, white gouache gashes on pitch-black paper, the stark contrast of the colours mirroring the sudden nature of the parent’s death, brutally rupturing the seeming constancy of life. The three voices gradually weave together their disconnected memories, telling the tale of their parents' deaths. Rotoscoping takes centre stage as the narrators relay their coping mechanisms. Painted pain eventually collapses into live-action memory as the film replays home videos from the narrators' childhoods. Their deceased mothers and fathers are no longer missed ad memoriam: instead, they are revived through celebration.
In addition to premiering in Rotterdam's Voices, participating in festivals including Go Short and Animafest Zagreb and going on to become a finalist for the BAFTA Student Film Award, Apart is screening at Annecy in the Short Film Graduation Films in Competition section. It is one of eleven films submitted through the CEE Talents programme, a multinational effort hoisting emerging Central and Eastern European animators onto the world stage. The trailer for the film can be found here.
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