Director Andrew Thomas Huang’s experimental film, “SOLIPSIST” is a short film that is filled with awe-inspiring special effects, high contrast between bright colors and darkness, and makes you think hard about the creation that you just watched.
It’s no surprise that this film was a winner at Slamdance 2012 (a festival for independent filmmakers) and received the Special Jury Prize for Experimental Short. The film is a strange combination of inanimate objects interacting visually with silent people, a colorful depiction of what appears to be the idea of separation and coming together. While there isn’t a story arc, I still found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, jaw dropped, waiting to see where this visual piece would take me next.
There are three main sections, each showing a different concept. The first features to women, back to back. In synchrony, the move forwards and back, all the while slowly getting encased in strangely animated objects. I felt anxiety as the scene carried on, struggling to comprehend what was going on. While there was no dialogue at all in the scene, I was still immersed in trying to understand it.
In the second arc, there are strange creations that appear to be floating and interacting. They continue the theme of what seems like separation and joining again, and thanks to later added nondiagetic sound effects to create the idea that these creature things are in fact like small animals. This type of personifying helps create an invisible story line that draws your interest in. The scene appears to something resembling an aquatic setting in an interpretive and confusing way.
The final story arc concludes the previous two in a literal explosion of special effects and color. This part takes the idea of separation and the collapse of… well the collapse of what I’m not totally sure. But the special effects are mind boggling in this scene as everything that has been created so far is suddenly destroyed. The sound effects used in this final scene are almost space galactic like, giving an otherworldly feeling to the scene. Along with that, the two men in the scene are accompanied by animalistic growling sounds as well, taking away their identity of being human as well.
While at first it seems like there is no story, by the end there is some sort of thread connecting the scenes. However there is still no answer to what it all means. Is it really about separation? Is there a story to the idea of what it means to be human?
Each scene creates a sense of confusion and disjointedness, evolving into chaos at times as well. It’s a puzzle in itself, figuring out what it means or what it could mean. I would recommend this short film, but with caution. While I loved it and was mesmerize by the creative style of the film, it’s not quite the film for everyone. But if you’re interested in an explosive, artistic film, I absolutely recommend clicking the link and buckling your seatbelt for watching this mind-bending story.