World of Tomorrow. Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts, by Don Hertzfeldt

World of Tomorrow. Episode Two, by Don Hertzfeldt

We continue with our review of the best of the year 2017, this time focusing on cinema, and in this specific case, on the short film (because it’s worth it). The new work by Don Hertzfeldt is—as each new part of the triptych ultimately named It’s Such a Beautiful Day or the Bill trilogy were in their time—a short film that continues the exploits started by Emily Prime two years ago in World of Tomorrow and is available for $4.23 on the website Vimeo, titled World of Tomorrow. Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts, maintaining in the nomenclature some sci-fi references.

Because World of Tomorrow —whose total, combining both parts, now reaches 38 minutes— is an animated film that blends science fiction and fantasy, adding to that the increasingly recognized doses of humor from Don Hertzfeldt —for his own benefit and the benefit of his followers, who previously had to contribute to crowdfunding to own some of the material he created (in the original version). It’s a sort of post-humor that revels in discomfort and details, initially, but is, in reality, the sense of humor and way of viewing life of a specific person. Not just any person, of course, as he’s been able to create his work free from the constraints of major studios, accompanied by the utmost creative freedom that a filmmaker can achieve, possibly (or that’s what viewings of his previous works suggest).

World of Tomorrow. Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts, as a continuation of World of Tomorrow, lacks the initial surprise of the first regarding the plot, but it continues to delve into the intricacies of memory and memories, and above all, their importance and their capacity in our personal and human growth. The idea that retaining so much or so little, and calling it experience, not only defines us but also turns us, from an existential standpoint, into something unique, without actually being so, and equally impermanent (for joy and sadness, which tend to converge into the same feeling over time). What differentiates us from some living beings, for instance, bound to reason, and from whose blend often arise most psychiatric questions (memory + apparent logic).

This is overlooking, in the 22 minutes of runtime, the ability to treat that entire life process (and beyond) from a perspective that lightens the tone and elicits laughter and smiles. Thanks, once again, to the author’s niece, who lends her voice to Emily Prime, and to Julia Pott, the illustrator who provides the voice for the rest of the adult Emilys (replicas of the original version and who retrieve memories). Just like the first part (which we discussed extensively in its respective review), World of Tomorrow. Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts is built upon improvised dialogues with his niece and an exploration of the digital medium for animation (World of Tomorrow was Don Hertzfeldt’s first fully computer-generated animation work), thereby creating a unique, special, and memorable universe once again (and with this one, there have been quite a few under his belt).