Jan 30, 2024
An intriguing animated short film about a fisherman, his son and a crab.
This is a project by director and animator Ross Stringer and it is part of the National Film and Television School Graduate Showcase 2023. The plot? It is kind of like a fairy tale and takes place on a remote island. A fisherman and his young boy are on a boat at sea and they catch a crab. They bring the crab back to the island, along with other fishermen, their sons and the crab they caught. The boy then waits in line, where a significant event is taking place that involves men watching while one at a time their sons use a cleaver to kill their crab in order to make their father proud. However, when it is the lead boy's turn, there is no crab because he has hidden it. As he secretely keeps it in his house and out of his father's sight, the crab gradually begins to grow and grow.
This is a story that is told without spoken words with the animation being the primary factor in creating a narrative. The hand-drawn animation is rather simple, without much detail, just enough for the viewer to know what they are looking at. For instance, a character's face consists only of two parallel vertical lines that make up the eyes. The men and the boys in the film look identical, with the exception of the main boy's father, who differentiates himself from the other adult men by a smoking pipe. The characters and the environment are in black-and-white, apart from the crabs, making it seem like they are special beings. The fact that the animation is plain is not a negative element, but a way for the film to present only the things that are required in order to describe a situation, such as that a man and his son are on a boat, fishing.
As mentioned there is no speech (save for some grunts and cheering), however there are many sound effects are quite effective and composer Matteo Tronchin develops a score that includes guitar melodies that sound like country music.
What themes are explored here then? Parental approval is one, along with self-discovery, saying no to violence and the significance of a person making their own choices without being influenced by others.
This is a dramatic story that revolves around a father-and-son relationship that is challenged when the child is torn between making his parent proud while remaining loyal to what he believes in. It is a film about courage and appears to point out that people should accept their loved ones' decisions even if they contradict with their own.