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By David Finkelstein | November 5, 2011

“Cat’s Cradle” is an engaging, short visual study of a highly compressed 3D space. Filmmaker Raymond Rea uses a crude form of animation, made largely from images produced with a copy machine. These images are of a pair of hands forming a “cat’s cradle” with a loop of string. Since copy machines use a photographic process meant to reproduce completely flat images of documents, a string game makes an interesting subject. The string is a mostly flat looking line, but it needs a feeling of shallow depth to convey the pattern. The highly contrasting images play on the flat look of the space.

The film also has contrasting sequences which feature animation based on color drawings. These drawings create an illusion of much greater depth, and also fancifully embellish both the hands and the background with a variety of decorative patterns. A section involving stretchable lace also plays on a sense of shallow depth. Ambient music by Purest Spiritual Pigs uses the sound of the copy machine, mixed with floating chords, to create a feeling of magical suspension. Raymond Rea creates a great sense of variety and even drama within the narrow scope of this abstract, visual study.

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