The diverse communication options offered by a cell phone influence our social and consumer behavior. Excessive use changes "head-down people’s" lives and lifestyles.

Genre: Animation

Length: 13:50

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4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : bellopropello,

Director/s : bellopropello, 

Writer/s : bellopropello, 

Actor/s :


Emojinal breakdown

This animated film makes a bleak but telling counterpoint between the life and colour offered by the technological world we live in, and the isolation dragging in its wake.

The opening is a bravura trip through an abstract night-time cityscape of neon, light and glass. We see neon motifs from a Vegas fly-through: a guitar, lips, a flamingo wearing shades, cacti, an alien face, a texting phone. The bright music stops, and the viewpoint moves into a silent apartment where dark forces manipulate mobile devices and the people who use them.

There a some nice if underplayed ideas, like the distant loner sitting in a downpour raining from within his umbrella. But they don’t come fast enough to stimulate us through the middle of this piece (it seems as if its timing was set by the length of the music tracks). One can understand that after the pain of making an animation, after all those coffee fuelled all-nighters, no animator wants to bin any of his or her work. But to be honest, editing would have helped. Yup, kill your darlings.

We watch figures who look like they are made of charcoal sticks move across anonymous concrete-grey spaces where no neon intrudes. Their moods are directed by emojis that a manic laughing Illuminatus feeds into their phones. A smiley face. An angry face with music to match. A heart that prompts chalky figures (females?) to walk alongside the sticks. A shopping trolley, and consumer goodies being delivered by a swarm of flying drones.

Shadowlands centres on the depressing notion that modern life consists of nothing more than one-dimensional people reacting to one-dimensional triggers. The symbolism is not obscure, and much more telling in spring 2020 than the makers could have anticipated.

No public screener