I'm Here by Julia Orlik

I'm Here by Julia Orlik stop-motion animation short

There's always a rare opportunity in animation (and a disincentive) to stay still; animation's essence is to move. Yet, the Polish animation director Julia Orlik challenges, via her subject matter, this time-honored condition.

In the stop-motion film, 'I'm Here' (a Lodz Film School production) an elderly man (Zdzislaw Wardejn) is looking after his paralyzed wife with the help of his daughter (Iza Kuna). The film won't go into grand dramas, but will reveal, bit by bit, the reality of family palliative care.

As Orlik has stated, this film came out of a bunch of personal experiences condensed into a single film. She also made the decision to shoot sequentially (the second scene after the first etc.) up to the very last shot. 

This shows in the finished film. 'I'm Here' is like a seamless microstory of both sufferings and letting go, of ordinary arguments and counter-arguments, of puppet micromovements and scene changes. The static setting of the main woman character in bed is an omnipresent predicament, and the rounding of all other characters (family, doctor etc.), partially hidden from sight, can never displace our attention. Even the scene transition here feels like a photo slideshow, in which we go to the next slide, with the hope that something will change (for the better or worse).

In reality, 'I'm Here' is quirky in its impression of stillness and highly relatable in its parade of ordinary thoughts. The arguments here and words (indelibly voiced by both main actors) are like busy bees that will enter our ears but won't get our attention far away from the increasingly rugged facial features of the main character. 'I'm Here' works like a small elegy on compassion, but is sure to put our main gaze on the issue that really matters the most, and it is moving in its self-imposed stillness.

Watch I'm Here

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