A Holocaust survivor reads a letter he wrote to the pig who saved his life. Alma, a young schoolgirl, hears his testimony in class and sinks into an inner dark journey, where she confronts questions of identity as the boundary between animalism and the extremes of human nature blurs.
Ahead of the film’s Annecy screening, Kantor explained the mix of styles she used to make the short to Cartoon Brew, pointing out that, “In this film, I continued to develop the technique used in my previous film, In Other Words. It’s a mixed-media combination of hand-drawn animation with live-action footage, and this time added another layer to it – acrylic-painted animation on paper. I wanted to have the messiness and raw emotions that come out of the material in manual painting, to have the feeling of weight that the black painted stain brings.”
That weight and that messiness are more than just aesthetic though.
“The film talks about memory and how we perceive memory, therefore the visuals are fragmented and ‘incomplete’ — like the mechanics of memory itself,” she said. “Some aspects appear more realistic and concrete, while others are more fluid and elusive.
We get a taste of those broken visuals in the trailer. Slowly, the grounded, realistic classroom gives way to a forest that feels haunted by decades-old ghosts and a black barn of nearly impossible proportions.
“As the film evolves and goes deeper, we tried to let the material be a bit wilder, and make the images more flexible and stretchable, like what can often happen in the subconscious,” Kantor elaborated.
Animation for Letter to a Pig was created by Kantor, Meton Joffily, and Anne Kraehn, with backgrounds by Kantor and Dafi Ben Ami. The film’s special effects were led by Shachaer Kantor and Shahar Davis, with the latter also handling compositing. Efrat Berger was editor and Arbel Rom director of photography.
The film is produced and distributed by Miyu and co-produced by The Hive Studio. The film received backing from the CNC and Arte France.