SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! Hugo Covarrubias’ animated short, Bestia, is this amazing, very adult, and odd little film from Chile. Inspired by actual events, Bestia is a solitary woman, and with her dog, lives life as a secret police agent in Chile’s military dictatorship. The morally-conflicted Bestia floats between reality and her fractured dreams.
Bestia boasts some of the best stop-motion animation I’ve seen in a while. I liken it more to Robot Chicken versus Laika Studio films. The puppet heads and flesh are constructed out of glazed ceramics, giving them a shiny sheen, and sets are made of thin cardboard and highly detailed. The characters’ movements are flawlessly smooth, even down to the ceramic hands and fixed fingers.
“The morally-conflicted Bestia floats between reality and her fractured dreams.”
Yes, the animation is top-notch, but then there’s the strange mob-like narrative. Covarrubias delves into the disjointed mind of Bestia. She’s calm and stoic at home with her dog. She works at a safe house during the day, where I assume she tortures and murders suspected dissidents. Yet, her conflicted lifestyle simmers within her, and tensions are released in bizarre ways.
Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the story and imagery of Bestia, but it’s Covarrubia’s artistry that wins out. It’s a short film that still sticks around in my mind, and to me, these are stories that succeed in the end.
"…still trying to wrap my brain around the story and imagery..."