©Santiago Grasso

18th Animation Division Excellence Award


Animated short film

Santiago ‘Bou’ GRASSO [Argentina]


Argentina, 1983. While the military dictatorship comes to an end and democracy starts to awaken, a solitary woman dedicates her existence to taking care of her sick father, a former military commander. Although the outside world pushes for action and change, the woman sticks to her daily routine, driven by the pendulum of a clock. She increasingly encloses herself inside her house, solely dedicated to the nursing of her father, refusing to face the imminent social changes. But the world is changing out there, forcing her to hear the calling of external reality and to decide whether she will act or not. The film was made over a period of three years using stop motion animation and 3D computer graphics. Intricate models of people and props were also photographed and then processed digitally, adding a distinctive texture to the imagery. It is a beautiful portrayal of the everyday through richly expressive animation.

Reason for Award

A gloomy room in a house in the afternoon. The sound of a clock continues to tick. Three pills lie on a ceramic plate. This superb opening is full of a finely honed sense of tension. The setting is Argentina in 1983, when the country is swaying between military junta and democracy. In contrast to the clamor of the masses that can be heard from the radio, the everyday behavior and perspective of a solitary elderly lady continues in a strained silence. This is the only thing portrayed throughout the whole of the film. She arranges flowers. She unwraps a package. She washes dishes. She places them on a tray. Possibly due to nerve pain, she has a habit of seizing her wrist. Centering on the kitchen sink, these very ordinary activities and point of view are carefully, precisely portrayed. If it had been unable to depict this menace in the everyday then the film wouldn’t have worked. The animation uses 3D computer graphics but one can nonetheless sense the tradition of puppetoon in the skillful shaping and animating, founded on a premise not of realism, but of concision and expression. This is a superb animated short by a 35-year-old emerging director with an assured touch. (WADA Toshikatsu)