Thursday, July 7, 2016

Short Subject: The Street (1976)

A story about a family dealing with the impending death of the grandmother shown through the eyes of a young boy. 

Using the boy as the narrator allows for some great humour like him and his friends hiding under the steps to look up the nurse’s dress every day.  And shows the more frustrating aspects of caring for an aged and ill member of the family because he’s like 9 and has no filter.  

The one thing that bugs me though is that I am utterly confused about the timeline for this short.  It start’s with the boy saying “the summer my grandmother was supposed to die”, but then when he is talking about being promised that room for his 7th birthday he says he is resentful about having to go in before school to kiss her goodbye, and obviously school is out in the summer.  Then he says that after two years of that he protested about getting his own room so are we back to the summer we started at?  

Despite this being the short that time forgot it’s the emotions that really pack the punch here.  It runs the gambit from the mundane, like whether the kids will get more money if uncle Lou comes for the funeral, to being grief stricken, to being resentful, to being resigned to the inevitable.  

The best scene for me being when the grandma is taken the old folks home and she grabs the bed post, trying to stay at home, showing that the infirm still have thoughts and feelings of their own even if we can’t always tell what they are.  It beautifully captures all the different feelings that come with such an event.  It’s frustrating and depressing to deal with infirm members of the family and you feel terrible for being resentful at times, because you miss the person they used to be.  You miss when things were easier and it’s sad because you know it will only be easier again, in a work load sense, when the person dies and a whole new emotional agony begins instead.

This is a touching, harsh, short that captures the raw emotion of dealing with something no one ever wants to deal with.  The great animation with watercolours and glycerine gives this sense of fluid memory to the whole thing, the designs are on the cartoony side and that helps that fluid motion, with great transitions and angles for different shots.  I would highly recommend this short to anyone who has ever suffered a family loss.     

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