Directed By: Nicolas Brault
Music by: René Lussier
Premiere: This film premiered at the 2008 Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois
Trivia: Walked off with two awards, including Best Animation, at the 2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest
I conclude my week-long journey through the films of Animated Express with Hungu, a story about a mother’s love that’s so strong not even death can extinguish it.
While following the rest of her tribe on a journey for food and water, a young mother staggers and falls. As she lay dying in the heat, the chief collects her son and continues on, with the others close behind him. To ensure that her son survives, the mother finds a way to provide the food and drink he needs, but it’s after her death that she gives him the greatest gift of all.
Animated in the style of African rock drawings, Hungu breathes new life into an ancient folk tale of a mother and her son. Even as the end draws near, the mother (who has been left alone to die) creates a flowing river with her tears (one that will nourish her son and the others), and when the tribal leaders are unable to hunt down any food, she sends some fish their way. But when she too tries to drink the water, the tribe’s leaders strike her down. Her son, distraught over what’s happened, refuses to leave her side, and is there when she breathes her last. But the mother ensures that it isn’t the end of their time together.
Despite its simplistic imagery, director Nicolas Braut’s Hungu is a poignant bit of animation that weaves a fantastical, sometimes heartbreaking tale of love and loss, and does so wonderfully.