It’s Cartoon Friday, again.
Last Breath is a short film influenced by cyberpunk dystopias and Japanese animation, but with a unique, surreal flavor of its own. io9 describes the film’s origins:
Mak Ying-Ping directed Last Breath as her graduation film at the Royal College of Art in 2012. It plunges us right into an increasingly neutral-toned world where the brightest colors shine from temples of commerce, and gradually becomes more surreal as our protagonist looks for a way to survive in a world where breathing is outlawed.
Last Breath has a few moments of nudity and sexuality, so don’t watch it where that will get you in trouble.
Sound by Joseph Tate
Mixed by Maiken Hansen
3D Animation by Christian Schlaeffer
Additional Animation by Christian Schlaeffer, Tim Divall, Xiaoyang Zhang, Ng Ngai Chung and Greet Kallikorm
Voices by Jason Chow, Alan Low, Eric Ka-Keung Choi
With the support by Blink Ink
An account of events when Yeuk Seng slowly grasps the fact that he has become a social outcast as a breathing person. Refuses to give in, he is now struggling to live and breathing in a city that he does not belong to anymore.
On Short of the Week, Rob Munday writes that one twist in Last Breath is the way it reverses the zombie narrative:
The ‘living dead’ have become a stalwart of modern storytelling, with the zombie-like creatures infecting every aspect of contemporary media, from television series to videos games and graphic novels to feature films. Often depicted as a plague on society, with their sole purpose to wipe humanity of the face of the planet, the breathless have got somewhat of a bad reputation in recent years. But what if death was the popular thing to do? What if breathing just wasn’t trendy anymore?
[...] With its bold colour design and hand-drawn aesthetic Last Breath could easily be described as distinctly ‘RCA’ in style, but Ping’s Asian background (She was born and raised in Hong Kong) shines through in every aspect of her visual style – from character design to the city she has created for her story to exist in. The strong visual style of Last Breath is bound to be a main talking point for viewers of the film, but here at Short of the Week we were equally impressed with the narrative created by the animator. Breathing fresh life into the dystopian future narrative, Ping’s often abstract story contains all the elements I look for in modern Science Fiction. Rooted in reality with a scattering of the absurd, fans of Jeff Noon and Margaret Atwood are sure to find lots to enjoy in Last Breath. Since graduation Ping has taken up the role of director at UK-based animation studio Beakus.
It’s interesting how at the center of this dystopian culture is essentially a corporate symbol — a mascot run amok — that is slowly sucking the life out of the populace by taking away their ability to breathe. A metaphor, perhaps?
Bonus: You know how I love Bob’s Burgers (previously on Cartoon Friday here and here). The titular Belcher family patriarch is always struggling to make the rent and keep the family afloat. Laura Allen and Megan Radich designed an infographic that shows just how precarious their financial situation must be – it takes 785 burgers a month just to make the rent on their restaurant and apartment, which is apparently in a fictionalized Ocean City, New Jersey.
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Image by Andrew Mason released under a Creative Commons license.