2SSFA - 'The Beat of the City that Freezed' by Joo Choon Lin

The amount of dedication that goes into any stop-motion animation piece is a surefire testament to the passion to the art. This eight-minute piece is clearly a budding sign to Singapore’s fledgling future in the animation scene, one that is unwise to remain insouciant to. With local input in films like Rango (2011), there is definitely room for upcoming filmmakers like Joo Choon Lin, whose verve shines in The Beat of the City that Freezed (2010). The tour de force, a stop-motion silent, harbors an effortless integration of sound effects making it a worthy nominee in both the Best Animation and Best Sound categories.

At first glance, the short is seemingly sheer jabberwocky. Yet it is anything but, the short film an experimental environmental piece that jars. The pulchritude of Choon Lin’s takes lies in cognitive dissonance with the cesspool as inflicted in the film. The preamble harks back to Darwinian theory, a pursuit of the single oddball misfit—the red ball, a persona non grata forced into eventual evolution, a metamorphorsis that clearly espouses the “survival of the fittest”. It then becomes the heart of a bigger creature in a stark empty room that soon is filled with debris. A wall disintegrates, and external elements diffuse within, the outside world portrayed through “live” traffic footage as a metaphor to technological advancement and its inevitable pollution. The conveyor belt of waste, a clever innuendo of the cyclical nature of garbage, and how it is neverending unless someone puts a stop to it. The world freezes over, a second Ice Age burgeons, and the environmental message possibly timely given the scrutiny of environmental messages and with contrived events like Earth Hour around the corner. Sorry for the cynicism, but I don’t see how such forced campaigns will do anything to alter long-term mindsets.

To take things a step further in what continues to flummox me, Choon Lin misspells the past tense of ‘freeze’ as ‘freezed’ as opposed to ‘froze’. The reason, perhaps, is an open mystery.

This film was nominated for Best Animation and Best Sound and the 2nd Singapore Short Film Awards

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