Animated Short of the Week – When the Day Breaks
When the Day Breaks (1999)
Dirs. Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby
You know, I’ve watched the Oscars as a yearly ritual since I was a kid, probably starting around 1993 or so, before I necessarily even knew what most of the films really were. What struck me each and every year though was why in the hell I could never see the rest of those wonderful looking Best Animated Short nominees. They teased and they teased, and yet, short of doing some real reference work at countless college libraries, something I was not exactly aware of at 14 or so, I could never see the full source of those teases… So, here we are, and I’m once again thanking the users of Youtube…
An Oscar nominee in 2000, When the Day Breaks is a beautifully animated tale of a very simple but devastating occurrence, and the immediate and nearly overbearing gravity of a situation beyond one’s control. That’s vague, I know, but as usual, despite its scant running time, I don’t want anything given away.
I will say this though; the animation is stunning, a dreamlike vision of something akin to 8-mm home movies coming into a different kind of light through scratchy and messy ink drawings. The other thing would be its emotional weight; this film really takes you around the block a couple of times, taking just as much time following a power cord drifting in and out of other people’s apartments as it does encapsulating an entire man’s life through various clippings. This is powerful material, yet it has a certain casual disposition to it, drifting along with grace as if just stopping by on a much larger journey. Enjoy.