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David OReilly / Ireland / 2008 / 10’00

PSS is a 10 minute short concerning a troubled relationship between a Cat and Mouse set in the distant Future. The final film was completed in January 2009 and contains 23 episodes of exactly 25 seconds each.

I like the fact that the creator described it as a short ‘consisting of 23 episodes’, and the precision that each episode takes, of 25 seconds. This seems highly related to the setting of the story – somewhere in the future where things are very rapid and mechanical. Like there are so many distractions in life that everything has to be short and quick; it’s like how you cannot switch on a computer without logging on to facebook then youtube, then tumblr maybe.

My central idea in constructing the world of the film was to prove that something totally artificial and unreal could still communicate emotion and hold cinematic truth. The film makes no effort to cover up the fact that it is a computer animation, it holds an array of artifacts which distance it from reality, which tie it closer to the software it came from. This idea is in direct opposition to all current trends in animation, which take the route of desperately trying to look real, usually by realistic lighting and rendering, or by forcing a hand-made or naive appearance. At the time of writing, this trend shows no apparent signs of ceasing. -David OReilly

The animation techniques used seem very rough, course and unfinished, and it something different from the usual dreamworks, Tom & Jerry animation methods used. Dreamworks aims to create a realistic, believable world where everything has tonal values, organic shapes and are everything is all very pleasant to the eye. This unconventional of animation may not be appealing to all audiences, but it definitely brings a new experience to the audience, and judging by the awards and attention and positive comments it received, it was quite well received.

I want to change the way people think about animation, find a language that is unique and honest and shift the focus to encourage a movement in 3D that is independent and free from. -David OReilly

It is also interesting to note how the creator was able to evoke feelings in the audience, when the subject matters were presented as something so artificial and lacking of expressions. The story is also so fragmented. The cat and mouse, whose gender is not specifically pointed out, and also do not speak in a distinct language we can understand. We only know what they are talking about by looking at the subtitles at the bottom of the screen, and I think this helps to emphasize the futuristic and alien feel. Every action each character makes is emphasized by the sounds of its footsteps – a soft knocking sound. The whole experience sort of feels like an old video game, except these two characters are very much alive.

Tags are a way of adding value to something and I used them to explain certain story elements. -David OReilly

There is a tiny break in between each ‘episode’ using a test card like picture, and there is a description at the top of this test card that describes what the scene will be about, followed by some tags of what is in the scene. For example, one of them read ‘6. IN WHICH MOUSE TAKES CAT HOME TAGS: WAITING, CONVALESCENSE, DOCTOR, LOSS’ But this flash is so quick, about a split second of so, it is impossible for the audience to see unless he deliberately pauses to do so. I have tried to pause at every insertion of the test card picture, and I find that reading the comments at the top helped me to make more sense of the story. Without the comments, it presents a different experience where the audience is free to figure out the story by themselves, but when viewed online under control of the viewer, the viewer has the choice to forgo their personal response and see what the creator meant for the story to be. I feel that this plays with the way most people view things nowadays, which is through online platforms like youtube, mysoju etc. We have more control over what we are viewing, and this is very relavant to the setting of the story, in the future.

I also really like the fragmented way the story is told, that there is not a smooth flow through the different events, so I don’t think we are that much drawn into the storyline as compared to when you view a full scale movie. When in the cinemas, they set up a protagonist, a conflict, a story for you to follow throughout as the protagonist tries to solve the conflict. But in PSS, I think the viewing is done more of in the manner as an observation of the cat and the mouse. This way, our mental states are hovering somewhere between reality and this world the film set up. We try to understand how that world operates, while drawing comparisons to this world we are living in now, and we think about if the future that lies ahead of us is something like that?

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2 Comments

  1. wah you lazy to spell out please say something?
    anyway i am shocked by your ability to express yourself so fluently in england

    • thanks i strive to be good in my england by trying to read the TIMES page to page. i know your china and england and India and Japan and Korea are the top quality so i gratefully accept your comments


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