Short films, especially animated ones, are often used as calling cards to highlight and promote the talents of the film makers. The best are often chock full of ideas and totally meticulous in their construction and execution. To reach as wide an audience as possible they should be accessible and entertaining. One recent example of this is the 2012 animated short El vendedor de Humo (The smoke seller).
Bouncing into a small country town comes a mysterious truck billowing purple smoke. The owner sets up a stall from the truck and proceeds to try to entice the locals to see his wares. failing to attract any interest be uses the purple smoke to create first a toy plane for a boy then proceeds to change a small, yappy, mutt into a large fearsome dog. The locals, suitably impressed, flock to the seller to get all manner of things changed by the purple smoke. As the skies darken with raid clouds the seller anxiously makes one last sale to the Mayor of the town before high tailing it out before the rains and the sting in the tail for the townsfolk.
The short film looks superb. Made entirely by the students of Primerframe.com, this a beautiful looking film. The animation is clean and bright. The attention to detail is apparent with each character well rendered and containing individual traits. In order to appeal to a large audience there is no spoken dialogue. The visuals tell the story in its entirety. It is an accomplished piece of film making, professional in its approach and execution. It came as no surprise that the film won the best animated short award at the recent Goyas (The Spanish equivalent of the BAFTAs).
In my opinion the theme of the film can be interpreted in a couple of different ways depending on your viewpoint. It can be seen as a simple tale of how easily people can be deceived if they believe hard enough in it. A couple of tricks and a fancy stage show are all that is required to make them part with their hard-earned money. If you want something badly enough you are willing to overlook the obvious questions that immediately come to mind. The other way to view the film is as a damning comment of the modern consumerist society. With only some smoke people’s fantasies and desires are brought to life, the true cost to the people only becomes apparent when, in this case, the smoke disappears. When we as a society are presented with something new and shiny we tend not to dwell on what the production of the bauble actually cost in terms of damage to the environment and human rights abuses. How many times have we seen reports damning international companies for breaches in labour laws. It is always after the fact. Of course that could be complete bobbins. The film makers may not have intended the tale to be anything more than a simple tale of a con artist.
Overall a very enjoyable, entertaining and accomplished short. Recommended.
You can view the full movie here. Leave a comment and let them know what you think.