Upon first viewing, this week’s Staff Pick Premiere may watch like a run-of-the-mill animated comedy. A parade of characters, including a mad scientist and a monkey wearing 3D glasses, galavant across the screen, giving the impression that this is the sort of slapstick fare better suited for a Saturday morning broadcast than a constellation of darkened screening rooms across the film festival circuit. However, first impressions can be misleading--and in the case of ‘Sore Eyes for Infinity’, this axiom is especially apparent. Lurking beneath the film’s vibrant surface, Finnish animator Elli Vuorinen has created a space to explore the unintended consequences of seemingly benign transactions in an increasingly interconnected world.
Told from the perspective of an optician, the short introduces us to cast of characters, each more bizarre than the last, who enter the scene to enlist the protagonist’s services. Although each character’s intentions are seemingly innocuous at first, the protagonist eventually comes to understand the darker ramifications of her work. “Many have said that they have been surprised by the film,” recalls Vuorinen when describing the different reactions that the film has received. “They start to watch it as a easy going cartoon,” only to jettison their initial interpretation as “the murkier tones are planted in the story bit by bit.”
Ultimately, the short’s protagonist is proxy for all of us, which is best exemplified by a sequence in which we view the world through her eyes. In this way Vuorinen implores each of us to consider our own actions and the cosmic ripples that emanate from each of us. By framing the story around an optician who comes to see the world around her more clearly, Vuorinen veers headlong into a metaphor that could have felt a little too on-the-nose, but she deftly avoids the pitfalls of cliché by counterbalancing the film with a healthy dose of surreality that keeps the viewer guessing until she gets her point across. Even then, the film is bound to invite a slew of different interpretations. In this way, it is a film that warrants repeat viewings and hopefully a little introspection as well.
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