Head Trip

THE TEAR SHEET

HEAD TRIP

A simple story that goes to your head

The Ostrich from Lucas Zanotto on Vimeo.

Lucas Zanotto is an animator who does commercial work, but this piece, “The Ostrich,” is more of a personal project and a decidedly more indie experience. It starts out pleasantly enough and has a rather nice vintage feel to it with its simplistic forms and actual paper marionette work (too often animators will use 3D to simulate simpler forms), and reminds me a bit of the Gumby cartoons I used to watch when I was younger. At first glance it may seem a tad too simplistic and childish, but I think that’s its appeal. In a world so inundated with imagery so dazzlingly realistic that you have no idea what’s real and what’s digitally composed, the back-to-the-basics approach of this short film leaves a lot to the imagination. The landscape, colors and storyline are so basic that they allow you to fill in the blanks more in your head, which I find makes a piece more interesting. Are those yellow spikes plants? Is the ostrich gigantic? What’s with the waves that come out every time the bird takes a step? Always good to be intrigued.

But then it gets kinda eerie. There’s an rather scary sense of the unknown to the reverse world that the ostrich discovers when it’s head is in the ground, with dangling black spikes and a bleak monochromatic background, and after a moment of what seems to be panic, the final look of the character seems tainted by the experience. I wondered if it was supposed to be funny, but since the ostrich is really expressionless, it almost looked evil after it lifted it’s head from the ground. It’s certainly not a mood I expected from something that initially seems geared towards a younger audience. Then again, some of the cartoons I used to watch as a child (particularly in Sesame Street) evoked a similarly eerie quality, so it’s perhaps par for the course. In the end, while I’m intrigued by the quality of the work and its use of simple papers to tell a story, I’m not quite sure what to think about the storyline. It’s a short tale, but for the ostrich and the viewer, definitely a trip.



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