A Single Life

"Pia receives a mysterious vinyl record."

Created by Dutch animation studio Job, Joris and Marieke, “A Single Life” plays with essential elements from filmmaking: time and continuity. It links these to an object (a vinyl record), and uses them to create comedic situations.

One main character is placed in an urban (indoor) location, giving special protagonism to an object, which has the ability to modify temporal continuity and staging. The record ends up representing the main character’s life; music with a title and lyrics related to the subject of time is present throughout the short. Music is also employed to emphasize the jumps in continuity, describe the way time is running (forward, reverse), and to help transmit the sequence in which the character enters a loop.

Editing plays an interesting role, it’s used to build continuity (cutting to different shot sizes) as well as to break it (jump cuts, noticeable ellipses), to introduce elements of surprise and to increase visual rhythm.

An external conflict is created when the main character loses control of time. The expressiveness of the animation and facial gestures is worth noting here, as it helps build and convey that conflict. Also worth mentioning are the stylized aesthetic and the great attention dedicated to iconography and staging, which helps tell the story of the character at each moment of her life.

What makes it work so well? Creativity, humor, surprise, elements of fantasy that raise it above realistic narration, an idea that will appeal to a wide audience and an abrupt ending that will leave viewers thinking.

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