A Year in Shorts Day 72: "The Fly"
David Cronenberg’s 1986 film The Fly is, to my mind, one of the finest horror movies ever made, a disturbing and strangely romantic tragedy about the dangers of hubris and insecurity. The film even managed to score an Oscar for Best Makeup, proving that sometimes they give that award to good movies too. Absolutely none of this has anything to do with today’s film, which was released six years earlier and directed by Hungarian animator Ferenc Rofusz. I just wanted you guys to know I like cool horror movies as well as cartoons. But hey, the 1980 The Fly won an Oscar too, so I guess there’s a connection after all!
The Fly is a rather difficult short to talk about. Unlike a lot of shorts we've looked at, it's not really story driven. It's just three minutes in the life of a fly, told from the point of view of a fly. How does one judge a short like that? I often try to use the criterion of, "Does this film accomplish what it set out to do?" And in this case, I think it does. But is that enough? Well, perhaps you should judge for yourself.
It certainly makes you feel like you're a fly, doesn't it? And the sketch style of animation is very lovely, I think. It reminds me strangely of segments from the music video for Weird Al's "Don't Download This Song", which should tell you how extraordinarily cultured I am. Viewed objectively, there really isn't anything to find fault with in regards to this film.
But, of course, films can not solely be viewed objectively, and it's foolish to pretend otherwise. There are certainly objective elements when it comes to movies, yes, but ultimately how "successful" a film is will always come down to personal preference. And, frankly, I prefer not to watch a short where the dominant sound on the soundtrack is incessant buzzing! While The Fly achieves exactly what it set out to do, the end result is a short I'm not particularly interested in and am, in fact, kind of annoyed by.
Still, enough people liked it to give it the Oscar, and there is certainly a level of artistry on display which you have to respect. The Fly might not top your list of favorite shorts (and it certainly won't top mine), but at only three minutes long, it's worth at least one viewing. And, if you're anything like me, only one viewing.
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