Short of the Week

Reverso

Living in an average British suburb, Barney drives an average car to an average office where he works an average job. He’s an average bloke, with one important exception: he lives life upside down.

On a technical level, Reverso gets everything right—quality 3D animation, realistic lighting, and complex yet easy-on-the-eye rendering. Yet in today’s democracy of filmmaking, technical ability isn’t enough to stand out from the crowd. What makes this film special is its bold visual storytelling.

Reverso is a masterclass in how to tell a story without dialogue. Strong characters and visual cues are used to establish viewer expectations, build the conflict, and draw the story to an inevitable conclusion that despite its sadness, is also uplifting (both literally and figuratively).

The filmmakers devoted careful thought to establishing characters through visuals. Barney, the lovable protagonist who navigates his upside-down world with a cheeky smile, and moves his too-long limps with lolloping grace, is based on a chimpanzee. Barney’s Dad, a soft, kind, maternal man has the rounded belly of a greedy gorilla, and spends his whole life wearing pink slippers. The office bully, Humphrey, is petty and mean, with the ugly face and sharp features of a rodent.

In its visual-only storytelling, its choice of office setting, and its thematic focus on difference, Reverso is reminiscent of the Jaime Maestro animation FriendSheep.

Reverso is a playful story with a serious message. Launched as part of the ArtFx school’s 2012 promotion, this is the first animation featured on Short of the Week from the Montpelier-based school of special effects and 3D animation. If it’s a sign of what’s to come from ArtFx, I’m excited to see more.

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David is a storyteller, dreamer, vagabond and writer based in Swansea, Wales. He traveled the world hunting for a damn good story and discovered brilliant stories are everywhere. To brighten your day with more storytelling goodness you can (and should) follow David @davidgmasters
  • http://www.facebook.com/jasondhi Jason Sondhi

    Beautiful animation, the lighting effects remind me of BLIK. Good visual storytelling too like David mentions. My only recommendation? Turn it off as soon as you hit the end credits.

  • ivan kander

    Interesting note about how the characters are essentially modeled after of animal counterparts. Never would have picked up on that unless you mentioned it. Now, it’s impossible not to see!

  • Clement Lauricella

    Thanks a lot for the review David.
    You can see the making of Reverso here : https://vimeo.com/44663506
    Bye.

  • http://www.andrewsallen.com Andrew S Allen

    There are times in life where you feel out of place and yearn for somewhere you fit in. This short brings that feeling to life like no other has. At first, the ending seems rather sad, but the twist following the credits brings it all together. Great to see another French school training the next wave of animators.

  • http://www.andrewsallen.com Andrew S Allen

    There are times in life where you feel out of place and yearn for somewhere you fit in. This short brings that feeling to life like no other has. At first, the ending seems rather sad, but the twist following the credits brings it all together. Great to see another French school training the next wave of animators.

  • questions

    isn’t it the same idea as the film “upside down”?

  • questions

    isn’t it the same idea as the film “upside down”?

  • Miraism

    Thanks for commenting about the twist, I would have missed it otherwise. I was initially dissapointed with the ending but the after credit was very sweet and in my opinion wrapped up this short nicely.

  • Miraism

    Thanks for commenting about the twist, I would have missed it otherwise. I was initially dissapointed with the ending but the after credit was very sweet and in my opinion wrapped up this short nicely.