Short of the Week


When animator Andrea Dorfman falls for a plastic surgeon, she must confront her own hang ups regarding her appearance in this sweet, but powerful film-confession.
(U.S. Audiences Only)

Flawed is an impressive animated work from Canadian artist Andrea Dorfman; a work that is at once twee but serious, heart-warming yet heart-breaking, in which she examines the conflicted feelings that arise when she strikes up a romance with a plastic surgeon. Through an intensely confessional narrative, she discovers that secret to getting the boy to accept her is to learn to accept herself.

The film has been a hit on the festival circuit for a couple of years, winning at Palm Springs and playing HotDocs and SilverDocs. It has been one of the recent jewels of the NFB‘s impressive animation catalog and I have been eagerly awaiting its arrival on the web. That time has now arrived, as it, along with 5 other great docs, are online through the PBS POV Docs website.

The film’s style is unique, something immediately apparent in the image above. This animation is not an animation per se, it is in fact a stop-motion of Dorfman creating static compositions in ink and water-color that visualize the narrative she relates through voice-over. It is neat, and moreover a perfect match for its subject matter. The childish watercolors evoke the childhood from whence Dorfman’s concerns about appearance first materialize, as well provide a neat parallel to the postcards through which she and the plastic surgeon first courted each other.

The film is intensely personal, and so the inclusion of Dorfman (or at least her hands) in the piece is likewise fitting. We’ve seen a lot of films show the animator in the work, Hertzfeldt for example, or perhaps most famously Chuck Jones’ in Duck Amuck, and while she is not torturing her creations like those two do, neither is Dorfman’s use of this technique gratuitous. The entirety of the film is explaining her history and her mental space, so the subjectivity of her inclusion in the piece is a very nice match for the personal, confessional tone of the film.

These personal and subjective elements thus succeed both thematically and aesthetically, allowing her to tackle an important topic, female body image, in the most satisfying way possible—not through a self-righteous screed, but by relating to it personally and sharing that journey of self-discovery with us. That is what makes Flawed not only cute and sweet, but ultimately important, and one of my favorite recent short films.

Edit 8/24 7pm PST: I’ve confirmed with the Exec Producer of POV that the film rights are for the USA only and thus geo-blocked for International audiences. My apologies. 

Co-Founder of Short of the Week, Sondhi lives in Brooklyn working as a Curator for Vimeo. Follow his musings on online video, direct distribution and branded content: @jasondhi.
  • Patrick Zimmerman

    Thanks for posting this. In our time of faux-celebrity beauty, this is a very inspirational animated short..

  • Oliven Studio

    I just got the message: “We’re sorry, but this video is not available in your regions due to rights restrictions”… :/

  • Jason Sondhi

    Oh no! You’re in Brazil @OlivenStudio? Any of our international fans getting the same result?

  • James

    I got the “We’re sorry but this video is too good for people like you.” message too. I’m paraphrasing there but you get the idea. :D

  • Jason Sondhi

    Much paraphrasing indeed! Public Television is too liberal to make statements like that (even if they are thinking it =P).
    Sadly I did just confirm that the film is geo-blocked for non US audiences. I’ll talk to the NFB and see if they have a plan for releasing this wonderful short anytime in the future.

  • gary

    When I try to open Flawed I get s small screen within my large screen and it doesn’t show all of the movie. Only a portion of it. Any ideas or suggestions?

  • Jason Sondhi

    @Gary So wait, you see some of the film? There is geo-blocking if you’re outside the USA, so unfortunately it wouldn’t be available to you.

  • Jason Sondhi

    NFB has a version of the film available through their interactive program, but it is only about half as long. If you really want to check this out you can go there.

  • Oliven Studio

    I could see the short by this link :)

    It has about 6 min, right?

    Thanks, Jason!

  • Oliven Studio

    Oh, no! I figured out that it has 12 min :/
    But I get the idea, anyway… Thanks

  • Olden Atwoody

    Yeah, it’s not available overseas.  That’s why I watched in on an airplane flying out of Dubai!

  • Canada Eh

    but but i’m a Canadian… :(