Sunday, 6 December 2009

David O'Reilly "Please Say Something" (2009)

I’m presently seeking suggestions for the top ten featured films on the Animation Blog. Richard Connor nominated, “without question” David O'Reilly’s Please Say Something. I have to review it now to make it tally with the unnecessarily rigid competition rules. I confess that I originally viewed the first five 25 second segments of the 23 episodes as a download from No Fat Clips in March last year. It made little impact at that time. I see now I made a mistake others have not. (Golden Bear for best short at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.) David’s work has been much praised. He himself describes it as a “30 Second Breakneck Heartbreak Uncut Turbodrama”. In a deceptively simple animation he tells the story of a mouse and cat whose relationship undergoes a whole raft of crises. Woman (cat) at home bored, man (mouse) overworked and preoccupied failing to understand her situation. And he gets in the way of the television. Outside is a maelstrom as the screen breaks up, gaudy or aggressive shapes loom out of shopfronts, characters have to struggle against a seeming hurricane, and the always pervasive soundtrack becomes a cacophony. Inside the house in comparative silence (too silent) a cup of tea fails to satisfy, woman bangs head against television screen. He visits her in hospital, calms her down after the lost scarf. The nurse is surprised they leave together. "She said she was going to leave him." To an extent the movie grows more conventional in its use of imagery as it progresses. Don't be deluded by sunsets and pastoral ranch. David envisages various futures from the most dire to the return of the lost scarf that blows in just in time. Remember the title and the couple's fractured world could be made whole. But in a complex turbodrama nothing is easy. Man completes work in an empty home devoid of woman, sits facing the television, swears. Clearly, he misses his partner. But he is swearing about the missing remote control. For all the diluted imagery the drama has an effect. As the pair return to their apartment to take their bows, what they have undergone has its roots in a reality that transcends the mimimalistic screen presence that, were it not for voices off, nearly made me miss it. Applause then for a probing drama of domestic life as we live it to David with a key element of sound design and voice synthesis by David Kamp, sound design and music by Bram Meindersma. (Other suggestions of favourite films featured here in 2009 , by the way, do email or add comment.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Street of Crocodiles" from the Quay brothers would get my vote. More of their movies would be welcome.