915. The Renter – Jason Carpenter

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SUMMARY: A young boy attends a home daycare run by an elderly woman, where he encounters a creepy man who rents a room.

WHY IT’S HERE: Jason Carpenter’s ‘The Renter’ is an astonishingly brilliant short which tells the story of a young boy’s experiences at a home daycare run by an elderly woman. From the moment he is dropped off there is a feeling of foreboding, as the boy encounters a mean-looking man who rents a room there. Although we see him primarily through the boy’s eyes, there are no revelations about this man to come. We don’t find out that he is a murderer or discover that he is a kind soul, thereby debunking the folly of childhood perspectives. ‘The Renter’ is not that kind of film. Instead, we experience the frightening alien feel of an unfamiliar place along with the child. The narrative is more a slice of life than a story, although there is certainly a dramatic peak in the moment he witnesses the killing of a chicken, presumably his first experience with death. Although it was created entirely with a computer, ‘The Renter’ has a really organic look, like it was drawn with ink. The colour palette is limited but rich, filled with eerie greys, browns and blacks. Although it left some viewers unsatisfied with its ambiguous story, ‘The Renter’ is undoubtedly a latter-day masterpiece of the medium which should delight animation enthusiasts.

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