(Extra Credit) Love Death and Robots as Art Films

When we were discussing art films in class, I immediately thought of Love Death and Robots on Netflix. It is an anthology of short films and animations and each and every one of them satisfy the definition of Art Film that we discussed about in class. Although this is a series from Netflix, I found that each episode was actually made by small film/animation production studios from around the world. My favorite two episodes were Jibaro and Fish Night and I recommend you guys to watch it if you haven’t yet.

The episode “Jibaro” is directed by Oliver Thomas from Blur Studio, based in Culver City, California. The episode was created using a combination of cutting-edge animation techniques and storytelling prowess, blending visual excellence with a compelling narrative. Set against a dystopian backdrop, “Jibaro” follows the story of a mother and her son navigating a world teetering on the brink of destruction. The mother, equipped with a mechanical arm, strives to protect her son from the perils of their environment. As they traverse the hazardous landscape, their journey unfolds, revealing unexpected challenges and a poignant exploration of the human spirit.

“Jibaro” stands out for its ability to shock and captivate audiences simultaneously. The episode’s narrative takes unexpected turns, subverting traditional storytelling norms. It delves into dark themes, challenging viewers with its raw and intense portrayal of a dystopian future. The shock factor isn’t merely confined to its storyline; it extends to the visual artistry and animation techniques used to depict the world and characters. The stunning visuals, combined with the emotionally charged narrative, create an immersive experience that stays with the audience long after the episode ends.

“Fish Night” is the third episode of the anthology series “Love, Death & Robots,” created by Tim Miller and David Fincher. Set in the desert under the starry night, “Fish Night” follows two traveling salesmen, Joe and Wayne, stranded near an ancient seabed. As the night falls, they witness a mesmerizing phenomenon – spectral manifestations of ancient marine life from the prehistoric era. These creatures emerge and dance around their car, leading Joe and Wayne into a surreal experience that transcends time and space. The encounter becomes a profound, almost transcendental, exploration of life, mortality, and the eternal dance between the past and the present.

The episode employs a breathtaking blend of hand-drawn animation and CGI to create a world that seamlessly weaves the beauty of the cosmos with the prehistoric underwater creatures. The animation style immerses viewers in a dreamlike state, capturing the essence of wonder and surrealism that defines this short story. What makes “Fish Night” so striking is its ability to captivate and shock simultaneously. The ethereal beauty of the marine creatures is enthralling, creating a sense of awe and wonder. However, the sudden shift in tone from marvel to eeriness, as Joe and Wayne face the ancient creatures’ ominous aspects, leaves a haunting impression. The narrative’s blend of stunning visuals, haunting beauty, and underlying existential themes provides a striking and unforgettable experience for the audience.

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