25th Animation Division Grand Prize

The Fourth Wall

Animated short film

Mahboobeh KALAEE[Iran]


An experimental short animation set in a “kitchen” that creatively reconfigures the relationship between home, as a space for living, and family. The characters in this film are a mother merged with a washing machine, a father merged with a refrigerator, a newborn baby, and a stuttering boy himself. The story of the family, which unfolds in the confined space of the kitchen, is told from the boy’s point of view. The unique method of expression, which combines two-dimensionally-depicted kitchen equipment and a live-action washing machine, refrigerator, etc., with animation techniques such as stop motion and 2D animations, is created through a three-part process: first, designing and placing the elements that are animated in the scene, then, filming these elements while moving the camera, and lastly, painting on the captured film. The fusion allows the boundaries of techniques to be merged and leads to an image with uniform properties. A quickly-evolving story, depicted through free-flowing camerawork, gives viewers a feeling of being in the scene, allowing them to stand on a blurry line between the real and the imaginary.

Reason for Award

This work is full of visual stimulation resulting from a fusion of three- and two-dimensional images. The method of using a wall surface as a backdrop for 2D animation is not necessarily novel. However, how it was synchronized with the fluid camerawork, which was probably produced with a hand-held camera, was very masterful. The liveliness maintained throughout the film, especially the movement of rotating motifs (the rotation of the camera itself and the laundry inside the washing machine), is impressive. It draws viewers into a dizzying visual experience. The miniature stage set and the furniture (mother = washing machine and father = refrigerator!) embody the boy’s perspective on his parents’ discord while bringing humor as if he is playing house. This is the artist’s debut film, and she produced everything except for the narration and sound design. It seems that she is preparing for a feature-length piece, and I am looking forward to seeing her creative works to come. (GONDO Shunji)