Thursday, December 05, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Wind (2013) **½

NR, 4 min.
Director/Writer: Robert Loebel

I think there’s an interesting critical phenomenon that happens when people stray away from the typical format of anything. Everybody becomes more forgiving. We watch feature length films in general. We judge our movies on how 90 to 150 minutes can be filled. When we start looking at different lengths, especially when those lengths are as short as 3 or 4 minutes, we think everything is great.

“Wind” isn’t a bad movie. It’s good at achieving what it wants. It’s clever. But then, that’s where I get stuck. It’s clever. A lot of things are clever. It’s not that hard to be clever. Should a 3½ minute short be more than just clever. With only 3½ minutes I suppose that should be enough, but I’ve seen much more accomplished in that space of time with movies just as short, one even shorter.

“Wind” tells the story…. Well, no. It shows us a world with inhabitants that exist in a perpetually windy environment. People at a bar pour their drinks to the side, using the wind to carry the liquid from one receptacle to another. Mothers tie their babies to stakes in the ground, reeling them out like kites to cruise in the wind. Longhaired men line up at a barber’s who simply cuts the hair flying out behind them. All of these things are clever, but they don’t really tell a story.

Robert Loebel’s minimalistic animation is well executed. There’s a distinct use of space. The hand drawn style is somewhat crude, almost childish, which I suppose fits the material. At the end of the movie we follow a large man under the surface. He relieves an old man from a crank. When the old man stops cranking, all the wind stops. When the young man starts cranking again the wind returns. It’s something I’ve seen before in another form somewhere. Again, it’s clever. I’m not so sure it’s profound.

Now, I’m being hard on this one, perhaps to make a point. “Wind” was released to the world on December 3 on Vimeo. It was immediately picked up by several art oriented outlets and declared a must see video. I don’t think it’s a must see. It’s cute, and at 3½ minutes, you won’t feel you’ve wasted an evening watching a movie after seeing it. It’s enjoyable. It just wasn’t as good as some of the other short animated films I’ve seen out there.

No comments: