• Balance (1989) - Christoph Lauenstein & Wolfgang Lauenstein

    One of those great short films that explore human nature, BALANCE is a classic Oscar winning animation from brothers Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein. Five men are on a pivoting platform that requires they move in unison to remain in balance. However, when one of them brings up a chest from the unseen mist below it becomes apparent that, should they wish to, any one of them can slide the chest towards them and force the others to move. (FILMS Short)

    Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 1989 ... As an idea, it works as a parable and an allegory, and more remarkably the two contrastAdd though a context. A time and place to the film’s creation. Germany, 1989. If you do, you realize a whole host of additional readings … The fact that the men are identical but for their numbers, is this not a oft-used symbol for the anonymity desired of those in a Communist society? …  hqdefaultthe box, what is the meaning of the music it plays, the dancing it inspired?Perhaps the box is a symbol of possibility, of what is outside the closed system, which inevitably undermines said system … And so a parable about selfishness becomes an allegory about German society and Soviet Communism at its fall. (Jason Sondhi, Short of the Week)

    A classic example of a low budget film that made good …  they built the film set at their parents’ house using parts of a ping pong table for the platform and hand-crafted puppets. They simulated the movement of the platform by changing the height of piles of books beneath the platforms which they hid underneath a piece of cloth. The entire film cost them only around 5,000 Marks. As such, the stop motion animation is also not as fluid as some other films. balance 1989However, they made up for this weakness with a solid story and great stylistic design. The brothers don’t give you much back story on these characters …  It is important to note that the film was made when Germany was still split. The brothers lived in West Germany … While they didn’t confirm or deny it in their interview, it’s possible that the entire thing is meant to be an indictment of the Communist society. Then again, you can take the politics out and the film is still an effective social commentary about teamwork vs. selfish gains. (Best Animated Short)

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    Categories: Short Films