SUMMARY: A man living in solitude ventures outside his sanctum to muse on the meaning of the universe through four abstract tableaux.
WHY IT’S HERE: Michele Lemieux’s ‘Here and the Great Elsewhere’ is one of the most innovative animated shorts of the 21st century. Made with, and also an ode to, the Alexeieff-Parker pinscreen that was used to create animation classics such as ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ and ‘Mindscape’. Lemieux met Jacques Drouin, the director of ‘Mindscape’, who had been working on the instrument for three decades. On the verge of retirement, he passed the only working pinscreen in the world on to Lemieux, telling her that she was the protector of the instrument first and an artist working on it second. With such monumental responsibility to live up to, Lemieux did so heroically with ‘Here and the Great Elsewhere’, an abstract film of big ideas which is about discovery more than understanding. As the human character in the film witnesses his surroundings with a sense of wonder, the camera finally pulls back to reveal the pinscreen itself, as he closes the door on the outside world. A final caption states that the film was ‘animated on an ageless instrument, a metaphor for atoms and the universe. On this evidence alone, the Alexeieff-Parker pinscreen is in safe hands.