Every Tuesday, Chris Robinson digests and dissects (relatively) new indie animation short films. Today: Lebensader
Lebensader (2009) is a wonderful student film from Angela Steffen (who has since gone on to create the lovely preschool series, Patchwork Pals) that explores a relation between a child and father through a simple leaf. The animation – with tinges of Andreas Hykade and Ged Haney’s influence – is a marvel, creating a world where nature, animal and human are interconnected in a big mish mash of harmony and threat.
The child initially sees only beauty and safety in a small leaf, but when her father reveals his scars of experienced, she is introduced to a similar world of menace, mystery, darkness. and fear.
What’s unique here is how Steffen avoids a simplistic either/or mentality. There’s no innocence of the child leading the father to light message here. Instead, the child learns that the world is a circle, a cycle of light and dark, good and shit, beauty and beastliness. In a sense, it’s really about an honest, open dialogue between parent and child, a loving cautionary gift to the young, innocent and naïve, so that they might be better prepared for the inevitable potholes awaiting them on their road.