Review: Invisible Eyes (2021)

Courtesy of NIFFF

Kids will be kids and they will always play their games regardless of consequences. On the other hand, there will always be consequences, the question is only if kids can learn something from their playful mistakes. The Korean filmmaker and animator Jung Seung-hee tries to provide an answer in his animated short Invisible Eyes that premieres at the New Shorts from Asia selection of NIFFF.

The kids, armed with toy guns, collect chestnuts in the woods. When squirrels come and “steal” their bounty, the kids go to get it by “hunting” them, affecting other living creatures (such as ants they step on) in the process. The invisible eyes (of Nature) observe them, sometimes choosing to interfere and to, at least, scare them. But the game goes on…

Doing most of the work himself, Jung opts for detailed and soft hand-drawn animation in pencil and for a dialogue-free approach, making Invisible Eyes more accessible and more open to interpretation. This is not a plot-driven animation aimed at delivering a specific message to its target audience, but an exercise in atmosphere dictated by Kim Dong-wook’s classical score and playfulness of children’s brains that quickly forget the unpleasant and have the urge to play. The film works and serves as an emotional, thrilling ride both for the young and the adult audience.

Invisible Eyes / Jung Seung-Hee

Year: 2021
Runtime: 8’ 13’’
Country: South Korea
Language: No dialogue, signs is Korean and English
Directed by: Jung Seung-hee
Written by: Jung Seung-hee
Voice cast: Seo Jang-hyun, Yoo Seung-yeon, Yoo Hya-min
Animated by: Jung Seung-hee
Edited by: Jung Seung-hee
Music by: Kim Dong-wook
Sound recording by: Kim Tae-yong
Visual effects by: Kwon The-q
Colourist: Jung Seung-hee
Produced by: Kwon The-q
Supported by: Seoul Animation Center SBA