Dark clouds hover over a dry, brown, desert landscape. A gaunt, weathered sheriff stands on a cliff; a skeleton of an animal lies at his feet. In flashback, we see glimpses of what might have had happened there, many years ago. As the sheriff – distraught, disillusioned, weary of life – drags his feet across the cliff towards its edge, you hold your breath and catch yourself thinking: ‘I wouldn’t want my kids to see how this ends!’
The seven-minute Borrowed Time is a new animated short film made by two Pixar animators in their free time. But nothing about it spells casual. And it is unlike any movie that the American animation studio has made so far. This one is dark – very, very dark, and quite disturbing for an animated film. Several notches more so than the ending of Toy Story 3 even.
This makes it not just unsuitable for children, but also an apt favourite of the festival circuit everywhere, where it is gathering the awards by the dozens and amassing tremendous critical acclaim. The Verge said it is “darker than Pixar has ever gone”. Slate called it the “most devastating short Pixar animators have ever produced”. Independent wrote, “… beautifully animated and maintains that trademark Pixar style, which makes its themes all the more heartbreaking”. It also made its online debut on Vimeo a week ago, and since then it has been viewed over seven million times already!
Now that we’ve got you sufficiently engrossed in Borrowed Time, you might want to check out other such incredible animated shorts available online. We scoured the Internet for you and drew up a list of five such films you should watch:
1. Lost Property
Every day, an elderly woman comes looking for things that she has lost – a blue umbrella, a key, a fish, etc etc. An elderly man helps her look for them in Lost & Found. But are these material stuff the only things they’re both looking for?
A man stumbles out of a club drunk and gets hit by a speeding vehicle. As his soul wanders away confused, Death finds him and shows him, one last time, all that he’d forgotten to live and enjoy in life.
3.The Looking Planet
The universe is under construction. The Cosmos Corps of Engineers is hard at work. But a young member of the team breaks a few fundamental rules in the name of self expression. This 17-minute CGI film may look like just any sci-fi film for kids, but you have to watch it understand the underlying subtext it has on offer for the adults.
4.The Lost Mariner
A brilliant stop motion animation film of just under six minutes, this one is a visual interpretation of a case study by neurologist Oliver Sacks, from his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. It’s a heart-wrenching depiction of the tragedy of age and memory loss. After all, “what kind of self is left when you’ve lost your past and your place in time?”
Even before the fantastic Netflix show Stranger Things hit our screens this year, this short animated film with a very similar theme was released on Vimeo a year ago. Little Emily is kidnapped by foxes and trapped in a secret underground mine (remember, the Upside Down?). Don’t let the mention of animated foxes mislead you into believing that this is for kids. This one is creepy and sinister as hell!
From HT Brunch, October 22
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