Review by Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions
Netflix is currently streaming two animated shorts that both deal with a similar theme, loss. In Canvas, an elderly man is dealing with the loss of his wife, and in If Anything Happens I Love You, a couple is dealing with the loss of their daughter who was tragically murdered in a school shooting. Both are beautifully animated and tell their stories without dialogue.
In less than 10 minutes, Canvas tells you everything you need to know about this man and his relationship to his wife. He’s a painter who has lost the will to paint since her death. He still has the love of his daughter and grandchild, but he can’t seem to fill the void left by his wife’s passing.
If Anything Happens I Love You presents a couple who have forgotten how to relate to one another since the loss of their daughter. We see them going through the motions of daily life, at the dinner table, doing the laundry. At the same time we see shadows of themselves fighting with one another, trying to force their actual selves to pay attention to the life that’s happening to them.
Both of these films are excellent examples of how powerful short films can be with or without words. They’re animation styles are completely different, but they still convey their universal theme of what it means to lose a loved one in the about half time it takes to watch the average sitcom episode. They also tell stories of what it means to experience tragedy and move on from it. We see in both stories that life will never be the same for these people, but life goes on.
In a year when so many have lost friends and relatives, films like this make us take notice and can help us cope with that loss. They are also a reminder that sometimes movies are not just about escapism. Sometimes they help us deal with difficult feelings and even communicate those feelings with the people who mean the most to us.
We first learned about If Anything Happens I Love You at the Soho Film Festival. You can see our coverage of opening night here, and our report on the winners of the fest here. Films like this are also reminders of the importance of film festivals and how films like this can find an audience especially now when so much of our entertainment is streaming online. If you’re looking for something to help you cope or you just want to have a good cry, I highly recommend these two wonderful shorts.