Demeter Lorant’s short film Nothing is a stunning mixture of various animation styles utilized to explore that universal fear of living a life ignored and alone. In this case, the main character wakes up in his apartment alone, stuck in a bland room surrounded by nothing of much interest or substance. Looking out at the crowd bustling far below his window, he screams for attention but his sounds go unnoticed. The only thing that seems to bring any color to his bland life is the vibrantly red appearance of his own blood, and so he reacts in the only way he can to both bring color to his life and, hopefully, bring attention to himself.
The majority of the animation in the short has a simple, cut-out feel to it. Smart usage of separate animation layers, blurring and independent element movements brings a very 3D quality and depth of field to imagery that otherwise could be very flat. The main character, however, appears to be either a freehand animation style somewhat reminiscent of Bill Plympton, or a case of rotoscoping over a more traditionally filmed element; the change-up in the animation style brings far more life to the character than the rest of his environs would suggest.
Nothing is only 5 minutes long, so it really hits and moves on. I found the animation choices compelling, and even see this as a bit of a meditation on loneliness as much as it could be about the appeal of, and sometimes motivation behind, suicide. If someone could see how vibrantly fluid and alive they appear to others, outside of their own view of their cut-out environment and society, perhaps the need to realize that life in more starkly dangerous terms might be less of a temptation.
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