PALM SPRINGS SHORTFEST REVIEW! From award-winning animator Emily Ann Hoffman, Blackheads is the story of a young woman, Sofia (Chet Siegel), who, upon finishing her morning shower, is coping with her recent breakup, amongst other things, and the mounting stress comes to a head…a blackhead on the tip of her nose.
Tempted to pop it, Sofia receives a phone call from her therapist, Dr. Blady (Robin Brenner). She’s not actually her therapist, but her sister’s therapist/child psychologist. Dr. Blady explains that all relationships lose levels of intimacy over time, and as long as the sex is good, Sofia can remain friends with her ex. Dr. Blady refers to him as Mars (Doug Goldring). With the growing pressure, can Sofia find release in the one thing that she can’t do, yet is so satisfying…popping the blackhead?
“…her recent breakup…and the mounting stress comes to a head…a blackhead on the tip of her nose.”
Blackheads has a lot going on that intertwines beautifully in a single work of art. The short film’s medium is primarily stop-motion animation. Sofia’s bedroom is a miniature set, and Sofia is a fabricated wireframe puppet. There are 2D elements as well. Sylvia’s face, particularly mouth and eyebrows are hand-drawn, as wells as short films’ dream sequences.
Along with a mix of animation styles, Hoffman’s storytelling is also a mix of Sofia’s memories of her love, various fantasies, and inner monologues. Her swirl of confusion ends with a beautifully animated pop of a pimple. Blackheads is insightful, whimsical, and full of stunning visuals that illustrates both the effects of both heartache and bad therapy.
"…a lot going on that intertwines beautifully in a single work of art."