What’s it like to be trapped in a world you cannot control? PS King’s animated short, Anatomy of a Supernova, takes us to such a world.
Usually, when I review a film, I like to judge it solely by what is thrown up on the screen and coming at it fresh. Here though, it’s best to have context before going in for the experience to make sense. Not long ago, King admitted himself into a psych ward. He states that in the first hour, he experienced an anxiety attack and then dissociated during that time. This animated short is an attempt to capture that experience.
“…King finds himself as a small robot trapped in Machine City.”
In Anatomy of a Supernova, King finds himself as a small robot trapped in Machine City. His only means of escape comes in the persona of the Ferryman, but in order to leave, he has to pay for passage. King uses stark and startling imagery to tell this story of a small robot. He combines manipulated still images and almost Terry Gilliam-like animation to invoke disorientating feelings and chaos his mind was going through in the psych ward. The Ferryman represents his psych ward doctor, who promises a way of escape but needs payment to show him the way out.
Anatomy of a Supernova is not your typical narrative short. The film exists to bring you in and hopefully understand and feel what King felt in his dissociative haze. It’s very much a story of the struggles he fought to find a place of peace in his battle for mental health. Like abstract art in general, one must wrestle mentally and emotionally to extract meaning and insight. In other words, you’ll have to put some work into this film.
Anatomy of a Supernova is available to be screened on YouTube.
"…find a place of peace in his battle for mental health."