Creating art, in whatever shape or form, is a well-known method of exorcising one’s psychological demons. Kilian Vilim did just that by making the brave decision to use his own mental breakdown as an inspiration for his unsettling animation Ooze. The director’s deceptively simple style is utilised perfectly to convey notions of isolation and mental decline, and the effect is deeply disturbing and awe-inspiring in equal measures. In just six short minutes, Ooze will creep up on you and disappear before you know it, but much like a lingering memory of a nightmare, it will stay with you long after it’s over.
The film follows the story of a young elevator boy, whose depression and loneliness lead to a sinister self-discovery. The starkness of the black and white colour scheme accentuates the notions of solitude which are at the heart of the animation. Ooze has a distinct, dark edge, making it both increasingly uncomfortable to watch, and impossible to look away from.
Vilim shared that Ooze was based on his own personal experience of working as an elevator operator in a nightclub in Hamburg. One day his loneliness became so overwhelming, it led to him having a mental breakdown, which in turn inspired his film. As a result, the animation feels so personal and inextricably linked to its creator, it almost seems to hold back certain answers like a private joke between the two, which we are not let it on.
The enormous emotional impact in Ooze is further reinforced by Vilim’s unique style and aesthetic. Choosing to restrict the colour palette to just black and white might seem obvious when dealing with themes of solitude and depression, but it also meant that the animation process was much more challenging.
Creating convincing three dimensional space and shapes, using only two colours and no shading is extremely difficult and requires a lot of planning, trial and error, but Vilim has done it so well, the audience barely even registers his brilliant execution. This is most evident towards the end of the film, where the director uses a split screen to emphasise the character’s instability and loosening grip on reality, to undeniably unsettling effect.
Vilim is currently working on a new film, inspired by 1930’s animation called Pete & The Iron horse and we are super excited to see it. We’ll keep you posted!