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Short Film Review: ANIMA (2019)

ANIMA (2019) is a music short film, with a collaboration between musician Thom Yorke and director Paul Thomas Anderson. Only 15 minutes long, this short film showcases three songs by Yorke on his latest work, also titled ANIMA. Yorke is the lead role in this dystopian landscape, which takes him on a visual and musical journey as sight and sound blend together.
ANIMA (2019) – source: Netflix
As this is essentially an extended music video, the music has to work for any of the film to work. Fortunately, I found the music to be a great fit for the visuals. The songs themselves weren’t anything memorable or catchy, but they matched the mood and pacing of the short film, which is what makes them work. There is no dialogue or sounds from the actual film aside from the music, which was a good choice as it ultimately made the focus be on the soundtrack.
The story of the film was simplified to fit a 15 minute space, focusing on Yorke and a potential love interest in this dystopian world. I loved this simple approach to tell a simple story, as it kept the short film clean and intensified what Anderson could do visually. It was also a story that felt incomplete, or not fully told. It felt poetic and simple, exactly what I want from a piece of work like this.
ANIMA (2019) – source: Netflix
The story is told in the form of movement, with choreography done by Damien Jalet (who previously worked on Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake). Choreography makes sense, particularly for a project quite like this, but I did not expect it to work as well as it did. The movements were on point with the beat of the music, the contemporary style matched the softer music, whilst the more bouncy and off-beat choreography matched the ore techno style of music. Despite that balance, it all seemed to work together effortlessly, which is what I was most impressed with.
Obviously, with this being a piece of work from Paul Thomas Anderson, you can expect the cinematography to be stunning. Between the framing, the colour palette and the transitions between scenes, this is a true masterclass in filmmaking. He manages to tell a captivating yet simple story without any dialogue in 15 minutes, which is incredibly hard to do. There is a reason a lot of people regard him as one of the best directors working to this date.
ANIMA (2019) – source: Netflix
This is a short film that is very simple to watch, but there is so much to take in and enjoy. The more I think about it, the more I like certain elements like the story telling. It is only 15 minutes and it is very easy to access on Netflix, so please go and give this a watch. You will appreciate the amount of work that went into this short film.
Have you seen ANIMA yet? What did you make of it? Comment down below and let’s have a conversation.

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