Posted on Thursday, December 24th, 2009 by David Chen
I was browsing Reddit this morning when I came across the following description for the short film Skhizein:
After being struck by a 150-ton meteorite, Henry has to adapt to living precisely 91 centimeters from himself.
That description didn’t make much sense to me, but, finding myself incredibly intrigued, I watched the 13-minute short and was completely blown away. From the concept to execution, this short film is beautiful, haunting, and thought-provoking. I would talk more about the premise, but it’s conveyed amazingly well through the film itself, so your best bet is to just watch. Hit the jump to watch Skhizein and for some of my brief thoughts on it.
Skhizein tore up the festival circuit back in 2008, where it won dozens of nominations and awards. Regrettably I didn’t catch it back then, but thanks to the magic of Vimeo, all of us have the opportunity to enjoy it now. Spoiler-y reflections follow after the video:
There are only a few concepts that truly scare me in this world (examples include time travel paradoxes and locked-in syndrome). To this list I now add “living 91 centimeters away from myself.” The film’s rendering of this idea is terrifying, making the outlandish seem utterly plausible.
But what I also love about the film is how it lends itself to allegory. Poor Henry is just a regular guy when a meteorite smashes into his life, forcing him to be ripped from reality. He becomes unable to live within his own body, to experience the fullness of existence. No one understands what he is going through; few, if any, believe him at all. Furthermore, attempts to better his situation only make it worse. It is only when he accepts his plight that he find some kind of salvation. In many ways, the meteorite is a metaphor for any sort of trauma that we experience.
Kudos go to director Jeremy Clapin for the wonderful style of animation and to Nicolas Martin for the haunting score. Here’s a link to the film’s official website.
I love Skhizein. What do you guys think?