It's the last Friday of the month, (and coincidentally also Halloween) which means it's time to admire another chosen piece of stop-motion animation. Since this Movies In Motion has landed on All Hallow's Eve, I have gone for something with an eerie edge to celebrate this most creepy of occasions. The Palace is a seven minute short film that explores fear, loss and loneliness in a dark vision of the future.
The Palace was directed by John Eyre and Robin Heap, which is their stop-motion animation debut as a duo. The piece was mostly improvised by its directors who set about making the short despite a lack of budget. The story is told merely through action as the film features no dialogue. Driven by its eerie score, the only diagetic sounds are actions, as well as groans from an unseen stalker. This in no way hinders the films story, but reinforces the boys tragic isolation.
Through the filmmakers set and models, the piece has a broken yet beautiful feel. Despite the boy's lack of human characteristics, he is still able to portray emotions through his small, sad eyes. His world maintains its human feel through smaller details, such as signage and furniture. The short's name makes reference to the abandoned theatre in which the boy takes refugee.
The short is accompanied by a mixed score that heightens the emotion of the piece. Beginning with a slow string section that emphasises loss and sadness, peril soon follows with jagged sounds as the shadows appear. The piece also brilliantly utilises silence at times, which makes the boy seem truly alone.
Even more impressive than the accomplished animation and riveting score is the story behind the short. The filmmakers have produced The Palace completely independently with no budget. By doing all writing, directing, model making, set design and post-production themselves they have produced a truly independent piece of film. Using either found objects or recycled items to create the world of the palace, the duo are a testament to what hard work can achieve.
A strange and thought-provoking piece that explores a dark and lonely world. This Halloween give seven minutes to appreciate The Palace.