Review: Vadim on a Walk (2021)

Berlinale Shorts Competition

courtesy of Berlinale

Stepping out of the comfort zone is never easy, but hardly any life coach or a new age smartass could explain us the basic reason for feeling unpleasant when finally taking the step to personal freedom. Probably the most basic reason for being scared of new things is the difficulty to re-orient oneself in new spaces. That confusion is the primary subject of Sasha Svirsky’s animated short film Vadim on a Walk that has recently premiered at the Berlinale Shorts competition.

We meet our titular protagonist while he’s sitting in a transparent square space, picking up the courage to step out of it and explore the unknown world that lays in front of his eyes. As he moves on, his stream of consciousness, delivered by the means of voice-over narration, gets wilder and wilder, switching the topic of his thoughts faster and faster. It is followed by the switches in the animation technique and style, back and forth, with simple hand drawings and computer rendering. The protagonist’s mental landscape is also reflected in the auditive component of the film, both in the sound design that shifts between clarity and confusion shown in distortion and the loops, and in the musical background that moves from the typical synth-infused retro electronica to the uneasy acoustic territory of “Nintendo-core”.

Sasha Svirsky comes from the background in painting and is a self-taught animator that likes to play with the stereotypes, outside of his artistic comfort zone. He does the same thing with Vadim on a Walk in a manner that is not exactly groundbreaking, but effective in what it’s trying to convey.

Original title: Vadim na progulke
Year: 2021
Runtime: 8’ 04’’
Country: Russia
Language: Russian
Directed by: Sasha Svirsky
Written by: Sasha Svirsky
Narrated by: Alexey Prosvirin
Animated by: Sasha Svirsky
Edited by: Sasha Svirsky
Music by: Alexey Prosvirin
Sound design by: Alexey Prosvirin
Produced by: Andrey Krzhanovsky, Nikolay Makovsky
Line producer: Nadezhda Svirskaya
Production company: School Studio Shar
Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Alma Mater Foundation Worldwide
Sales by: School Studio Shar