A group of refugees pays a smuggler to take them to a safe country in hopes of a better life, but they get more than bargained for in Farzaneh Omidvarnia’s Song Sparrow. The writer/director tells her story via a hybrid of animation and puppetry. Her sets are created using felt-like fabric, and the puppets are stitched together with animatronics installed for blinking. The craftsmanship is incredible and makes for a “fun” film about a very dark subject.
The short opens with the refugees standing at the back of a meat truck. Each pays the smugglers a certain sum of money, and their passports are ditched in the forest locale. The plan is simple. The refugees hide in the freezer with hanging sides of beef while the smugglers drive them to their new homes.
“…refugees hide in the freezer with hanging sides of beef while the smugglers drive them to their new homes.”
It doesn’t take long before the freezing temperatures become unbearable. Some of the refugees start banging on the sides of the truck. Others start screaming. But their cries go unheard as the driver is occupied with a pretty young lady in the passenger seat. So let’s just say the situation isn’t good… even for puppets.
I could go on about the artistry of Song Sparrow, the ingenious use of puppets, and, as mentioned before, the craftsmanship of the characters and sets. It’s all absolutely amazing. But, at the same time, Omidvarnia captures the horror of the situation in a way that will haunt your memories long after the film ends. She tells a good story with a point.
"…ingenious use of puppets..."