Sunday, May 17, 2009

BHFF: Man Still Goes to the Moon (Short)

The Moon has long been associated with madness in traditional folklore and contemporary psychology. It literally haunts the protagonist of Dragan Rokvić’s Man Still Goes to the Moon, an animated short that made its American premiere at the 2009 Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival last night.

The year is 2096, one hundred and one years after the formal end of the Bosnian War, but the residents of Sarajevo are still fighting and dying. However, the war is now on the Moon and the enemy is never explicitly identified. The protagonist has returned to a future version of the city, evidently shell-shocked from his war experiences.

Rokvić’s stylized black-and-white animation turns out to be an excellent vehicle to illustrate the horrors of war in a science fiction setting. His visuals are quite memorable, particularly the sight of faceless soldiers encased in spacesuits and helmets, slowly drifting into cannon fire. It is a cold way to die, but as the narrator says: “It is always cold on the Moon.”

Approximately ten minutes long, Moon’s ghostly atmosphere is more important than the actual twist of its tale. The somewhat abstract animation is striking and his portrayal of war’s futile carnage comes across as a universal critique, rather than a specific political statement, which should generate enthusiastic audience reactions as it travels further on the film festival circuit.