My initial review:
The World of Tomorrow.
A 16ish minute short from animator Don Hertzfeldt that won prizes at Sundance and SXSW, and no wonder. This movie is great. In what amounts to a conversation between a four year old and a version of her from the future, Hertzfeldt touches on the perils of technology and the way it complicates the idea of death and dying, plus the kind of basic human sadness that rests at the core of our existence. What might be way too philosophical and depressing, especially in such a short running time, gets a light touch thanks to Hertzfeldt's wonderful combination of hand drawn animation for the people and cool digital backgrounds and, more importantly, his niece's voice-over work as the four-year-old Emily. According to an interview with The Dissolve, Hertzfeldt got all of her lines over a week or so spent coloring with and interviewing his niece. She's so delightful and oblivious to the heavy ideas older-her is presenting which provides a nice counterpoint to the existential angst that hangs over the film. It's a movie about what happens when we know we won't be around for long, and it's a remarkably funny and life-affirming one, at that. I watched it twice in a row.
and 1SO's for posterity:
World of Tomorrow (2015)
* * 1/2
The four year old is completely disconnected from what's happening, so it isn't a conversation but a rant with random, meaningless interjections. I found that to be frustrating because we're then stuck in one woman's sad point of view as she explains things to someone who clearly isn't understanding any of it. It's so close to interesting in many ways, while at the same time as meaninglessly meaningful as something surreal like Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I expect it to go down in history as one of the greatest short films ever made, while I only watch it ascend from my ground floor.
I think calling older-Emily's side a rant is a little off. A lament would me more suited to the tone, I think, which is why younger-Emily's vaguely related interjections are so important. For older-Emily, this is basically it, and she can't do anything other than steal some of younger-Emily's memories and try to prepare her for the coming catastrophe. She is about the future, her future, of which there isn't much left. So where she's kinda depressing, younger-Emily's semi-random interjections are about the now, which is what the movie is trying to get us to consider as the best way of living, I think. Live while you still can, basically. Younger-Emily does that automatically by her very nature, but we see what she grows up into being, namely a kinda weirdo jerk who comes and steals all of her memories of her mother. Even that shows the dichotomy, though. Faced with certain death, older-Emily still cares about reliving the past and trying to stave off the future. Younger-Emily just cares about the rainbow (which older-Emily didn't even see).