Maryam Farahzadi’s short animated film, Blue, naturally places the spotlight on feeling blue, specifically the isolated feeling that comes from being different. Set in an animated world of a plain white background and line-drawn people and objects, a young woman finds herself alone as the only person colored blue in a colorless world. To make matters worse, anything she touches turns blue. For example, the young blue woman is playing with a ball in a park. Touching the ball, it turns blue. At first, a small child is fascinated by the color blue but quickly runs away in fear because it’s different. Fearful of change, the woman is forced to wear gloves to keep the rest of the world from turning blue.
Simple is the best way to describe Blue. It uses simple animation to tell a simple story. Thanks to our old pal, the computer, producing an animated short film can be a relatively easy process. Easy compared to hand drawing 12 frames per second for a 4-minute short. When you look at Farahzadi’s final product, it’s clear that she refused to take shortcuts and she had specific ideas in mind for art direction and kept it consistent throughout.
“To make matters worse, anything she touches turns blue…”
Characters and objects are line-drawn and given a “cut-out” style similar to stickers with white borders. She was intentional in how parts of the body would move. Take for example the lead character’s hair. She could have easily made the hair static and locked into the movements of the head, but instead broke apart the hair to give it swaying motions with every head nod and turn.
In fear of overselling the short, Blue is quite an achievement, especially for a student film. Its story of individuality and finding friendship in others who are different has been told many times, especially in short films. Blue gets its point across effectively, naturally, and within boundaries its own art style. In the end, it’s a good story but falls far short of being groundbreaking.
Blue (2017) Written, directed, and animated by Maryam Farahzadi.
7 out of 10 stars