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Astigmatismo (2013)

animation
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Created by Nicolai Troshinsky
Music by Shogun Kunitoki
Sound design by Pierre Sauze
Character design by Gina Thorstensen
Background design by Cecilia Ramieri

Astigmatismo by Spanish filmmaker Nicolai Troshinsky is a stunning short film about – you got it – astigmatism. Beginning with the moment a boy’s glasses are taken from him as a prank, we are plunged into his world with the aid of some very innovative animation techniques. Only able to focus on very specific parts of his surroundings at any one time, his perception is reduced to localised glimpses of what’s happening around him, with everything else a blur.

The resulting effect is one of dislocation. Seen through the boy’s astigmatic eyes, the world becomes a series of connected and not so connected vignettes, some as surreal as if dreamed up by Dali or Bosch. The genius of this film is that it manages to convey the beauty in this confusion – the reduced power of perception makes the world harder to piece together logically. But then, the world can often be like this even for those of us with 20/20 vision – confusing, weird, wonderful and random.

The animated world of Astigmatismo was created using painted glass and cut-out marionettes, and filmed on five planes, using computer-controlled lens focus in order to switch focus, like the human eye, near instantly between different points. Astigmatismo has screened at scores of film festivals including Sundance and won several prizes including the Animatou Special Animation prize. A short documentary about the making of Astigmatismo can been seen here.