16th Animation Division Excellence Award
The Great Rabbit
Animated short film
WADA Atsushi [Japan]
Once upon a time, the word “great” was used to describe noble, profound, mystical beings who were markedly different from ordinary people. These beings were truly great, and those who believed in them and the world that inspired such belief were part of a whole. Today, after many changes in thinking and outlook over the years, this type of belief has been lost, so what would inspire anyone to describe a given entity as “great”? This animated work, co-produced by the French companies Sacrebleu Productions and CaRTe bLaNChe, deals with the theme of disobedience. Among the characters are a group of children who stand in line clutching a large ball, a rabbit-like humanoid creature who helps with the ball, a small child with glasses who looks on, a marten-like animal who is out to get the ball, a bird who snatches away children’s clothes, and a rabbit, enshrined in a household altar, who is constantly chewing on something. Depicting these figures and backgrounds with thin, 0.3-millimeter lines and faint, subdued colors, the work explores the nature of disobedience.
Reason for Award
Although one might say that visual expression has attained a broader palette with the popularization of digital production, there are only a few artists in the world who are truly original. In that sense WADA Atsushi, who displays a peerless style that makes him a breed apart, and is at last becoming involved in international collaborations, is a valuable director of short animated films. His depictions are rooted in the pleasure of a chain or cycle of tactile sensations. From this emerges what one might call “distance.” We have no idea at all whether there is any meaning to the chain or cycle, and even more perplexing, the protagonists don’t seem to care. Then, at the moment that we begin searching for a metaphor or assigning meaning, this “distance” crumbles. The work also includes elements imparting a strange objectivity, such as the surveillance camera, and the rewinding and replaying, adding another level to the enigma. Even more frightening is the thought that in the midst of the cyclical repetition of images, this “grown-up baby” might be drifting away from the chain and simply wandering around with his underwear over his eyes, slowly losing sight of his destination.