Editors Note: “Price is Right” is a running column from local film enthusiast Mr. Price. He reviews selected Strasburg Film Festival films. If he posts a negative review, then the Shenandoah Film Collaborative will respond within his reviews as to why we selected the certain film. By going about it this way, we can help ensure the reader that these are honest film reviews.
The challenge of animation, as well as its biggest advantage over other mediums, is the fact that every molecule of the film must be created by hand. Every frame of every shot, every sound of every action, all must be deliberately crafted instead of captured on film. “Empty View”, the story of a mother waiting for her son to return from war, showcases just what can be accomplished through this medium given enough love and attention.
The unique and charming visual style of “Empty View” is stunning in its detail. From shifting shadows to the ever-moving knitting needles of the mother, the animation flows effortlessly. This style serves also to highlight the heavy nature of the story being told. A colorful, at times almost cheerful animation technique reinforces by contrast the heartrending personal tragedy of the mother.
The sound design in “Empty View” is also worthy of high praise. Sound in animation can often fall a bit to the wayside, as long as there is something there instead of silence the visuals will carry the film. “Empty View” however, is as much a testament to the artistry of foley work and sound design as to animation. Every little action is conveyed to eye and ear, down to the delicate sound of falling snow. This level of detail draws us in, it makes the small world of the mother that much more real. And in doing so makes her heartbreak and worry that much more real as well.
“Empty View” is a testament to the unique power of animation to bring life to the artificial. With enough care and talent poured into every second, a film created entirely by hand can feel as real, if not more so, than reality captured on a camera.