Wednesday, July 27, 2016

#2,155. Ground Floor (2014)

Directed By: Asya Aizenstein

Written by: Asya Aizenstein

Awards: Won the award for Best Short at the 2016 Miami Jewish Film Festival

Trivia: This movie served as it's director's graduation project from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem

A 2014 animated short by Asya Aizenstein, Ground Floor was included as a special feature on the DVD for the 2015 movie Wondrous Boccaccio, recently released by Film Movement. Less than 3 minutes long, Ground Floor was Ms. Aizenstein’s final project for the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and, in her own words, represents “an individual’s reflections on her urban environment”.

Animated in black and white, the film presents a series of shots obviously set in a big city (back alleys; large buildings; passing subway cars; and the always-familiar image of sneakers, tied by the laces, hanging from telephone wires). While many of the scenes possess a gritty, metropolitan feel, they are at times juxtaposed with more serene imagery, including a woman, her body hidden in the shadows, peering out of the darkness at the world around her; and, even more striking, a sequence where what at first appears to be a geometric pattern suddenly springs to life, revealing it's actually a collection of butterflies resting on a city sidewalk (one by one, these butterflies take flight, soaring high above the landscape). An intriguing combination of urban decay and poetic motion, Ground Floor features no dialogue whatsoever (there’s only a musical accompaniment, composed by Yonatan Albalk). But then, none was needed; as with any good animated film (or indeed, movie of any kind), the visuals speak for themselves.

Much like Waves ’98 and Sea Child, Ground Floor was a very personal project for its writer / director, representing her own experiences and observations while at the same time displaying her unique approach to animation. And based on this brief school assignment, I’m sure Ms. Aizenstein has a bright future ahead of her.

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