Lalen, Estar Muriendo

I love seeing examples of animation from around the world, especially from regions that have developing animation scenes. This is the trailer for a stylish short film from Santiago, Chile-based Plano Visual. The directors of Lalen, Estar Muriendo are Felipe Montecinos E., Mariana Contreras and Constanza Wette.


  • http://www.germanshible.com German S.

    Very cool. Look forward to seeing this, thanks for sharing!

  • Dave K

    Looks very beautiful. I’d love to know more about viewing possibilities, especially with subtitles.

  • Mike Johnson

    Mesmerizing.

    It is a bit disappointing that no major American studios would be daring enough to produce something like this. Almost more disappointing is that most Americans would probably shy away from seeing something like this, since it isn’t bursting with treacly CGI funny animals or Broadway-style musical numbers.

    Still, I hope I’ll have a chance to catch this one….it could potentially be a true work of art.

  • http://angelalo.blogspot.com/ Angela L.

    Wow. Beautiful work.

  • amid

    Mike: I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make by comparing an independent short film to big-studio American features. There is generally a great deal more graphic and narrative experimentation in the short film format than in features.

  • anik

    I think that what Mike feels is that the American studios use their big budgets to wow us with things that are fake, repetitive and cheesy, rather than fresh and inspiring. We are more likely to be impressed by something with soul, so why not to try to go this direction. Who said that in order for animated content to be commercially successful it has to be stupid? Innovation and certain amount of risk taking do not contradict the idea of financial success, quite the opposite, these were supposed to be the best ingredients for it. Why most big studios now decide to focus on technical superiority rather than substance is merely a strategic habit and lack of vision rather than the only right way to do business. Everybody agrees that experimentation with new technological ideas is a promising place to invest, but from some reason the experimentation with new visual and storytelling ideas is considered to forever belong indie non-profit category.

  • vzk

    Pretty good.

    This seems to be based on Andean mythology. I find such stories fascinating.

  • Mike Jihnson

    Anik, you hit the proverbial nail on the head.

    amid, I feel that “graphic and narrative experimentation” should not be limited to ONLY the short film format. I think that the major studios should certainly be willing to take a chance at doing something that does not fit the usual “cookie-cutter” way of animating a film. I know many people who are growing tired of the whole CGI thing, even though Pixar continues to push that particular envelope with much success.

    I am happy to see Disney return to traditional hand-drawn animation for their latest film, and while I hope that both CGI and cell animation will continue, I hope that somebody will realize that you have to be different to stay fresh.

    I mentioned Pixar before. Nobody had seen a fully CGI feature before they came on the scene, although they had “independently” produced a few short pieces that were well-received. They took a big chance with Toy Story but it worked, and the rest is history.
    I am not saying that anyone needs to invent a new way to animate, but certainly there are different tools and styles in existence that could be combined to achieve something different.

  • Iritscen

    Yes, I too think that a lot of people would be intrigued with an animated film drawn in this style — although this specific story might be too foreign or too somber for a lot of Americans to swallow, but still I think that people *have* to be open to something different after so much of the same stuff year after year.

  • Jim

    I agree with your wishes, Mike, but I’m not sure it’s possible. If you had $50-100 million of other people’s money, would you be willing to take the giant risk that the American public would be receptive to a fresh, graphic style?

    There are plenty of indie-type live-action films that experiment with narrative and visuals, and some are a huge critical success, but they flop at the box office. Look at Synecdoche, New York… landed a prominent spot on many critics’ top 10 lists for 2008, but cost $21 million to make and barely made $3 million at the U.S. box office. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is one of the most extraordinary films I’ve ever seen, but it made just $6.5 million in the U.S. and twice that worldwide.

    As much as you and I wish the people in charge would take more and bigger risks, I’m not holding my breath. The only way it’ll happen is if they find a director with proven ability (perhaps via short films) that can experiment and make a full feature in a totally different style for $10-15 million. But I’m not sure that kind of indie mindset can be had at the big studios…

  • anik

    Jim, you are right that trying to minimize the risk while handling huge investments is the problem. However, not all budgets have to be 100 million dollars. For example, Persepolis cost $7.3 million to make, and earned $22.7 million worldwide. This movie brought great profits due to its originality, humour and humanity, with simple animation and black and white designs. It shows that there is a space for variety, not everything has to be a certain shallow, but technically advanced over-the-top way to make a good business. If fast food chains make huge money, it doesn’t mean that there can be no space for ethnic/healthy/gourmet restaurants, and the only alternative to burger combo meals is cooking at home.