Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds
Sang, generations of human cloning leads to a steep decline in creativity
and problem solving skills. Side effects for late generation clones also includes
a potential romantic attraction to inanimate objects, like rocks and fuel pumps
in Don Hertzfeldt’s latest short film. After winning the Grand Jury Prize at
this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Hertzfeldt’s thought-provoking World of Tomorrow (trailer here), launches today on Vimeo VOD.
is playful, good-natured kid. The grown clone of her clone of her clone is not.
She is a rather dreary, socially awkward killjoy. What went wrong? Clearly, the
deterioration process took its toll. Unfortunately, it seems this has happened
on a planetary scale. Humanity is pretty much done for—and it is hard to mourn
for such drab and morose lot. Time-travelling Cloned Emily will explain it all
to Emily Prime, but the girl is too young and healthy to get most of what she
says. Instead, she appreciates the interstellar spectacle of their journey.
World is a smart and
ironic excursion into the sort of eon-spanning science fiction H.G. Wells and
Olaf Stapledon created and largely still dominate. Strangely enough, it also makes
a fitting thematic companion to Hertzfeldt’s special Simpson’s intro, the longest and most conceptual couch gag in the
show’s history. It is very funny at times, but it also poses some rather
pointed questions about cloning and the nature of what it means to be human.
Despite their simplicity, Hertzfeldt’s figures
are rather expressive, particularly the endearing Emily Prime, while his cosmic
backgrounds are truly cinematic. Quite substantial as a seventeen minute short,
World really combines distinctive
animation with challenging science fiction filmmaking. Hopefully, Hertzfeldt
will eventually integrate it into a larger feature as he did with It’s Such a Beautiful Day, because there
should be considerably more material for him to explore in this apocalyptic
cloned far future. Regardless, World of
Tomorrow is recommended for all animation and science fiction fans when it releases
today exclusively on Vimeo.
Labels: Animated films, Clones, Don Hertzfeldt, Sci-Fi films, Short Films