I'm very happy about the choice of the Best animated short film that today won the Oscar award. Because it's deeply water-related, and so I've the chance to speak about it here, and moreover it's a wonderful little jewel. After having won the festivals of Annecy and Milan, contrary to the expectations that were all for "Presto" by Pixar (that rarely let slip this Oscar), it won also the most prestigious of the awards. I'm speaking about "La Maison en Petits Cubes" (Tsumiki no ie), by Kunio Kato.
Obviously it is protected by copyright, therefore I cannot show it here, the only thing is a short clip at the end of this post, but believe me it simply doesn't give you an idea of how intense and delicate is this short film. So purchase it as soon as possible and you won't be disappointed.
This is the story of an old man living alone in a town that has become submerged. His answer to the slowly rising water is to keep building on to his original home--like placing cubes on top of cubes to keep out the water. When he loses his favorite pipe, he wears a scuba wetsuit to retrieve it. As he descends and sees the earlier, now submerged, levels of his home he relives in his mind his life and loves. The idea is great and thanks also to an incidental music particularly on the beam it's all very sweet and sentimental.
The scuba diving in particular is a great plot device. The metaphorical aspects are the real strength of the film: Building your own life block after block each one on top of the previous one to escape to a sea that never stops to rise... and then descending in your own life, stage after stage, and looking at your own memories and to other houses that no more reach the surface...
I wondered if the whole story of the rising sea level is also an attempt to draw attention to global warming.
This short masterpiece has been written and directed by Kunio Katô, and the following are the full credits:
Directed by: Kunio KATO
Running time: 12 mn 03 s
Techniques used:Drawing on paper, 2D computer
Category: 2008 Short films
Target public: All audiences
Directed by: Kunio KATO
Producer: Kusakabe MASANORI, Yuko SHIN
Produced by: ROBOT COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
Script: Kunio KATO
Graphics: Kunio KATO
Storyboard: Kunio KATO
Layout: Kunio KATO
Scenery: Kunio KATO
Animation: Kunio KATO
Camera: Kunio KATO
Music: Kenji KONDO
Compositing: Kunio KATO
Kunio Katô website
Robot Communications Inc (production house) website