First of all, watch this animation before reading what i’ve got to say about it (if you want to have a clear personal response for yourself) 😀 But yes just watched this stop-motion animation, I stumbled across it through reading about Nine Inch Nails ‘Closer’ music video being inspired by this animation. Now that music video is fucked up (but awesome), so to see what inspired that must be interesting!
Watching this film gave me a range of different emotions. At the beginning it has close-ups of different materials moving with different functions, a very mechanical feel to it, which made me think of post-modernism. As it morphs into stop-motion animation, the scenes show many old toys and glass cases, which was quite nostalgic for me as it reminded me of Aberystwyth museum, a museum I used to visit regularly as a little girl.
The whole animation is pretty grotesque, with atmospheric, eerie music – mainly using the strings section. There’s an underlying feel of magical realism, despite the use of props and materials, the way they move is very real.
Here is the ‘plot’
“A man closes up a lecture hall; he reaches into a box and snips the string holding a gaunt puppet. Released, the puppet warily explores the darkened rooms about him. The desolate ambience and haunting musical score are meant to convey a sense of isolation and futility. As the short continues, the mute protagonist explores a realm of what are described by the director as “mechanical realities and manufactured pleasures”. As the protagonist chooses to join this world, the camera slowly reveals how unfulfilling the surroundings actually are.”
At the end of the film, the creator speaks (translation)
“In that city of cheap human material, no instincts can flourish, no dark and unusual passions can be aroused. The Street of Crocodiles was a concession of our city to modernity and metropolitan corruption. The misfortune of that area is that nothing ever succeeds there, nothing can ever reach a definite conclusion. Obviously, we were unable to afford anything better than cardboard imitation, a photo-montage cut out from last year’s mouldering newspapers… Obviously, we were unable to afford anything better.”
So the film is clearly about modern society and our materialistic obsession. Maybe its talking about a social hierarchy and acceptance through costs of products in relation to where you stand socially. And maybe, through the costs of these material objects comes something not so great after all, a con.
But through the materials they used to create this animation, ironically created a beautiful piece of art.