Head over Heels
This Oscar-nominated animation is an heartwarming tale of a married couple whose lives have grown in opposite directions.
After many years of marriage, Walter and Madge have grown distant from each other, to the point that they lead their lives in literally opposite ways. Their lives run parallel, she inhabits the roof of their house, and he’s got the floor. As days go by, they ignore each other, until the husband decides to reconcile with the wife… which will turn their worlds upside down, destroying the fragile balance their lives were built upon.
The two worlds turned upside down are the perfect visual equivalent of the misunderstandings and difficulties of marriage. The mirrored architectural structure of the couple’s house, inspired by Rembrandt’s ‘Philosopher in Meditation‘, is the narrative and visual focal point of the story. A strong choice, that helps to characterize the characters and is crucial in the epilogue of the short.
The two lives that run parallel and opposite, the little moments of confrontation between those two worlds so close and yet so far away are built impeccably, with a meticulous attention to detail. The visual impact of the narrative is so strong that there’s no need for dialogues: gestures, expressions and movements express the emotions and thoughts of the two spouses better than a thousand words ever could.
Head Over Heels was presented at Cannes in 2012, has won over thirty awards in the international festival circuit and was nominated for Best Animated Short Oscar in 2013. It was finally put online this week, and the official website includes a commentary by the director and an “upside down” version of the film, Heels Over Head.
American director Timothy Reckart realized the short as his final work at the National Film and Television School in London, the same institution where 30 years ago Nick Park created Wallace & Gromit. After the success of Head Over Heels he has collaborated on Charlie Kaufman‘s first animated film, Anomalisa , is developing a TV series for the BBC and will direct a feature film for Sony Pictures Animation.
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