A kinetic stop motion journey that captures the very essence of humanity, Fabio Friedli’s multi-lauded animation is the aptly named In A Nutshell. It’s a creative visual feast, instilling a plethora of emotions via its perfectly chosen and timed imagery. The result is a quick, viscerally thrilling watch that also manages to convey the entire story of human creation—from our origins in the primordial soup through the industrial revolution to our current technological age—over a wordless six minutes.
And, so we watch humanity rise, create, and destroy itself, and then create again in a flurry of imagery and sound. It’s astonishing how much Friedli manages to cram in here. He creates a sort of intentional sensory overload—there’s just so much to absorb, that it’s impossible to ingest it all in just a single sitting. But, still, each object and composition is carefully chosen and painstakingly crafted. In A Nutshell runs the gamut of all human issues—violence, sex, lust, decadence, waste, religion, materialism, hope. Nary a topic is left untouched. And, so we’re left to wonder: is this a biting critique of humanity or a celebration of it? Perhaps both? After all, there is so much we have accomplished as a species, and yet, so many times where we have fallen victim to our shortcomings.
As Friedli’s producer at YK Animation, Lukas Pulver, relates to Short of the Week:
“In A Nutshell is a criticism of the outrageous materialism of our culture, a materialism that allows me to talk about metaphysical subjects like love or religion only with objects. It is obviously also an exaggerated reference to the speed of our zeitgeist. A speed that goes as fast as it can to end up in a complete emptying of meaning and pure superficiality.”
In our current 24-hour news cycle, the speed at which the film moves through its imagery feels especially prescient. We barely have time to process something before we’re already rushing off to the next shiny scandal. We devour at such a rapid pace that the very act of consumption becomes synonymous with analysis.
Friedli started his journey with the film way back in 2014. And, with a painstaking attention to detail, he crafted an animation that has engaged audiences across the globe. Besides being an animator and filmmaker, Friedli is also a talented musician. Follow his musical alter ego, Pablo Nouvelle, to keep up with all his new releases.