866. Skhizein – Jeremy Clapin

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SUMMARY: Having been struck by a 150-ton meteorite, Henry has to adapt to living precisely ninety-one centimetres from himself.

WHY IT’S HERE: Jeremy Clapin’s genuinely unique ‘Skhizein’ is a fantastic short animation with a fascinating premise. Henry is hit by a meteorite and subsequently finds that he is living ninety-one centimetres from himself. So if he wants to sit on a chair, he has to locate the spot 91 centimetres from that chair. To everyone else he appears to be floating but this is the only way he can sit down. Using a system of chalk outlines, Henry manages to make his home life more bearable but outside of his flat he struggles and his workmates begins to regard him with suspicion and fear. ‘Skhizein’ manages to achieve a very difficult mood between comical and tragic, with the premise eventually emerging as a metaphor for living with mental illness, or slipping away from oneself. The limited, pale colour palette perfectly compliments these themes and ‘Skhizein’s look is superb, attractive without being in anyway distracting from the deeply resonant themes. The feeling of losing touch, both with ourselves and the world around us, is something that is surely familiar to most people to some extent and this short taps into it with sensitivity and astuteness. How ‘Skhizein’ missed out on an Oscar nomination I will never know.

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