by Martin Hafer
I recently wrote an article about Don Hertzfeldt and his wonderful animated short films (which can be found here). In this, I mentioned that his newest film, World of Tomorrow, will be debuting at the end of March. However, this film is different from the usual Hertzfeldt release because it's his first film done digitally as well as his first released directly on demand.
World of Tomorrow is an unusual sci-fi short that begins with a small child, Emily, being contacted by a clone of herself over two hundred years in the future. It seems that many folks living in our future are clones--often second, third or fourth generation clones. And, surprisingly, the adult Emily clone of the future wants to bring young Emily to her time to show her about and muse about life.
As for young Emily, she sounds like a three year-old and seems sweet but oblivious to the importance of all the things her clone tells her about life. So much about the clone's life is empty and sad...and life in the future sounds that way in general. Even worse, the world apparently is about to end and the Emily clone just wants to see her original self to say goodbye.
If all this sounds maudlin, it sometimes is. The film is an odd combination of existential angst, loneliness and even dark comedy. For some, the film will obviously have some significance and deeper meaning. For others it will just be silly, absurd and good for a laugh. It's amazing how many of Hertzfeldt's films have various levels on which you can enjoy them. As far as the quality of the film goes, all of Hertzfeldt's animations have stick figures, as the filmmaker utilizes his most simplistic form, hence my hesitation on rating his work higher. However, because it is digital, it looks richer and more colorful than a typical Hertzfeldt film. But it's the strangeness and depth to the story that make it so wonderful. The amazing voice of young Emily (Winona Mae) will make you smile or even laugh--despite the strangeness and seriousness of the plot. Overall, it's a heck of a film and I can understand why it was recently awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Short Film at the Sundance Film Festival.
You can view World of Tomorrow in its entirety here www.bitterfilms.comShare: