711. The Chain – Phil Mulloy

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SUMMARY: When a small child’s messy red daubing is cruelly thrown away, it sparks a chain reaction in which the drawing’s worth is reassessed to the point where people are willing to kill to obtain it.

WHY IT’S HERE: Phil Mulloy is an animator whose work is regularly misrepresented as crude, ugly and based mainly around shock value. While Mulloy’s work does depict extremes of human nature, it clearly does so from a humanist point of view. Mulloy see the world for what it could be and then depicts it for what it is, which is comparatively desolate and disturbing. While he generally peppers his satires with black humour, ‘The Chain’ is perhaps one of his bleakest works, reflected in the black backgrounds that hang heavy throughout the film. The humour in ‘The Chain’ is mainly in its concept of a child’s drawing being mistaken for a treasure map of El Dorado and the juxtaposition between the triviality of the actual item and the lengths people are willing to go to in order to obtain it. The chain reaction seems to stem from the cruelty inflicted on the child at the beginning of the short, showing how domestic attitudes seep into the culture to the effect that they can affect events on a global scale. A masterful piece of satirical animation, ‘The Chain’ was created as part of a season of films for Channel 4 based around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, further evidence of Mulloy’s humanist intentions that are so frequently and blindly ignored.

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