Short films can be utilised to portray many things; often they are punchline-driven or perhaps created to introduce us to a world that the director is looking to expand into feature-length. The Velvet Abstract takes the form of poetic exploration and is a brief but fascinating way of making us look at one of today’s modern worries: what we are doing to our planet.
It’s made up of scenes all animated in a different style and media while the stern but soothing narration that meditates on the human condition and the tragedy that is happening in the world. Not just ecological but also the fractured dissociated way people live.
James Hughes’ short is well-written and the varied animation styles certainly make it pleasing to the eye. However, one does get the impression that each separate animator was just given their line of narration and translated it to visuals rather literally. For a film with abstract in the title, there’s very little to actually back it up. That’s not to say it doesn’t work, it certainly does and it really does make one think about the state of things at the moment and worry about what’s to come.
As a bold experiment in art, it’s a fascinating and enthralling - if desperately depressing - journey. The animators involved are all highly skilled and certainly succeed in making their point.
THE VELVET ABSTRACT (SHORT FILM) / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: JAMES HUGHES / STARRING: TOBIAS MENZIES / RELEASE DATE: TBC