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Daily Helping for November 14th, 2020 – Spellbound

A photo still from the animated short film Spellbound of the main character looking at her participation ribbon, surrounded by her sister's 1st place trophies.

I love this film. Just… wow. I can’t remember the last time I watched a student film and loved it so much. It’s only three minutes long, and yet in just 20 seconds, you know everything you need to know about Rene and Sunny, the two sisters whose relationship is at the heart of this film. Furthermore, it’s an instantly relatable relationship for anyone who has ever had an overachieving older sibling. Or just a sibling in general really. Based on its opening scene alone, Spellbound is an extraordinary feat of storytelling. But it also has something very profound to say.

I’ve talked before about the power of words, and this film takes this idea to a whole new level. Rene doesn’t think anything of the words she writes in her journal about her sister. They are just an outlet for her frustration, until they suddenly come to life in a very real and vivid way. Words are powerful, and in Spellbound, they are literally dangerous. But they can also heal. I can’t tell you how much I loved the fact that in this film, words literally save the day. And all of this was communicated through a film without any dialogue. Again, it’s an extraordinary feat of storytelling.

Directors Ying Wu and Lizzia Xu are clearly incredibly talented artists and storytellers. This film was released in 2016, so I can only hope Hollywood has snatched them up since then. I can’t wait to watch the beautiful stories they’ll bring to life next.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!