A Beautiful, Abstract Arthouse Picture
To accompany the album of the same name (which we’ll review seperately) Anima is a mind-bending, hedonistic trip into a visually stunning world of Thom Yorke’s creation. With a short run-time on 15 minutes, Anima never really feels like a promotion of the upcoming album, instead delivering a thought provoking, artistic short film about the daily grind of work.
Life is a journey and it’s easy to get caught in that humdrum 9-5 grind. However, if you can find someone to share that journey with and chase your dreams in the process, you can make life’s journey all that more enjoyable. At least, that’a my interpretation of this gorgeous, mesmerising film. There will inevitably be those who don’t understand or like this picture and that’s absolutely fine; Anima is a subjective arthouse film designed to challenge conventional tropes.
Beginning and ending with a scene on transportation, Anima plays heavily on themes of movement, with interpretative dance numbers filling up almost the entirety of the film. From the opening minute through to the closing segments, Anima portrays characterisation through dancing and in that regard, it works surprisingly well. Usually when I watch a film or TV episode that’s not live, I’ll pause and write notes but with Thom Yorke’s Anima, I was completely mesmerised from start to finish.
The use of colour is intriguing and tells a story of its own too, with one iconic segment midway through predominantly shot in black and white, playing on various camera angles and shadows to distort and warp the figures hopping across the stage. The latter periods of the film change this up, filling the screen with vivid, neon lights and ending with our protagonist bathed in the orange hue of the sun as he travels alongside his partner.
Of course, with this being an arthouse picture it certainly won’t be for everyone. Some will be put off by the lack of dialogue and others will almost certainly see Anima as a promotion for the upcoming album. For me though, Anima is a deeply thought provoking film, one that challenges ideals and present big themes in a medium rarely seen. The story told through interpretative dance is a beautiful illustration of how to tell a story through movement and for that alone, Anima is one of the best short films of the year and well worth checking out.