After describing his previous film, Tennessee, as fresh, juvenile, and unapologetically rule-breaking, we’re excited to welcome filmmaker Jack Wedge back to S/W with his latest boundary-pushing animation Goodbye Mommy. Citing a History of Cinematography class and Film Noir lighting techniques as inspiration, Wedge’s 13-minute film immerses its audience in a world of alien babies, giant kings & maniacal fez-wearing gangsters, with the aim of making the viewer “feel like you’re on drugs”.
“Welcome to the world of the detective”, the narrator at the start of Goodbye Mommy announces and strip away the surreal aspects (and there are many) of Wedge’s narrative and it’s easy to see the influence of the hardboiled Noir on this tale of a discredited crime-fighter looking for redemption. Called upon by the Queen (voiced by Sophie Koko Gate – Slug Life), to find her missing husband and child, we join our troubled antihero as he journeys into the city’s underbelly in search of answers.
The narrative is a real trip, but it’s the filmmaking here that makes Wedge’s latest short such an exciting watch. Brought to the screen with a frenetic, unpredictable energy, as the warped camera flies around the abstract world of Goodbye Mommy it creates a disorientating, intoxicating effect, submerging you it’s equally twisted narrative. The director wanted his film to have the viewer feeling “like you’re on drugs” and he certainly captured some of that experience. There’s no comedown here, but it’s certainly addictive.
It’d be easy to label Goodbye Mommy as “experimental animation” and let that lazy classification try to explain what Wedge is reaching for in his work, but that description is ill-fitting and outdated here. Wedge brings an exuberance to his work that needs to be celebrated for its ambition and originality. If this was a slick sci-fi we’d be lauding it for its world-building, if it was a flashy neo-noir we’d salute it for reinventing a classic. Goodbye Mommy is neither of those things, it’s something else, something we need to see more of.
If we’re true to our word and we really believe that short film is where innovative storytelling is born (as it states on our About page), how can we not champion the work of Jack Wedge? Surely this is the perfect example of using the format to develop a distinct filmmaking voice. Long may it continue.
Next up for Jack? A new movie about the climate crisis.