When it comes to infidelity, there’s no textbook method for dealing with it. You do what you can to survive, even if that means resorting to unusual coping mechanisms. In Nadja Andrasev’s animated short Symbiosis, we follow a woman as she comes to terms with her husband’s betrayal by investigating the “other” women in his life. The psychological spiral sucks you in as Andrasev immerses us in her main character’s fascinating emotional ride.
“I was most interested in the concept of a woman having a collection of other women”
While the direction the narrative takes can be startling, the premise of Symbiosis is all too familiar, instantly giving the film a relatable quality. Although the behavior of its lead character is indeed strange, it is clearly fueled by emotions that make her actions surprisingly compelling. “I was most interested in the concept of a woman having a collection of other women – her husband’s lovers – and by this, distancing herself from the situation that she is in and taking control back in an unusual way” Andrasev explains as we discuss the origins of the film.
Following her on this “secret mission”, at first her obsessive behavior is enthralling, but it subtly becomes more and more empowering, and as Andrasev explains, we start to feel like she is attempting to gain back some sort of control over her life. Meeting all the “other” women one by one not only helps to understand the depths of her husband’s infidelity, it also helps to create a steady pacing within the short, before Andrasev begins to increase the tension.
What I especially like about Symbiosis is that Andrasev creatively uses the animation medium to foster an atmosphere that conveys her main character’s obsession. Mixing techniques the director is really able to flesh out the main character’s emotional state and as she obsessively collects her data we are allowed a more immersive appreciation of the effects of the betrayal. Visually, the aesthetic feels perfectly matched to the narrative and the animation choices allow Andrasev to take her concept to its limits, enhancing its impact without sacrificing its emotional authenticity.
Symbiosis is currently in its FYC campaign having qualified at SXSW (where it won the Jury Award for Animated Short). Andrasev is currently in the early development stages of her next project, a short film dealing with women’s dilemmas about having children.