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Aura - short film review


Written, Directed and Animated by #ChunChunChang


A lonely man on a boat has a life-altering experience astride the sea when he is confronted by the fierceness of nature. Yet, he also discovers gentleness amongst the storm. Ethereal and enigmatic in tone and execution, Aura is a beautiful short film that transports both character and viewer to another plain.

An animated image of a man on a boat, battling the forces of nature.
"Aura" film poster

Aura is Chun Chun Chang's most recent short film, having initially been produced as part of her Master's degree with the infamous film department in University of Southern California (USC). The concepts included within this film are incredibly detailed and well-envisioned, as the protagonist on the boat confronts the multi-faceted revelations of nature herself. The dreamscape feel leaves the man's journey entirely up to personal interpretation as he is transfixed by the powerful Aura, making us question what he is witness to.

In Greek Mythology, 'Aura' is the goddess of the wind and Chang's film expertly captures her overpowering nature through symbolism. In particular, the spiralling water is beautifully animated in such a unique way across the screen which feels three-dimensional in its detail. Water continually rippling gives this short, constant movement that is incredibly effective, as well as revealing more about the internal motivations of Aura and the man.

All of these elements, combined with the soundscape (designed by Dan Blanck), allows the film to be immersive to the audience as well as the man seduced by Aura. The music, recorded by a group of musicians, makes this few minute long film feel romantic and transformative. You cannot look away, enamoured by the sounds of the waves and the music, much like nature would want you to be.

Chun Chun Chang has created a beautiful short film that captures so much mastery in just a few minutes. It can definitely be imagined as a feature-length animation, but it is definitely more mysterious and fascinating in its current form. It will be exciting to see the future of this short film and Chang's future film work.



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