*. You have to admire short films that take on big themes. And when they’re animated, well, that’s definitely something.
*. Alan Holly’s Coda, which comes in under ten minutes, is a movie that takes on a couple of the biggest questions of all: What happens when we die? And what is the meaning of life?
*. A young man leaves a bar, staggers into the street, and is hit by a car. He dies and Death, in the form of a towering woman cloaked in black, pursues his wandering spirit. She says it’s really time to go. He wants to hold out for more. His protestations get him nowhere.
*. Visually, Coda is full of interest. For a night film it’s surprisingly bright and pastel coloured. It also has a softness and flow to the imagery despite a linear, cut-out style of animation. The Man’s spirit almost looks like a clothes-peg doll, and Death might be the obelisk from 2001.
*. But despite being so ambitious and nicely visualized, at the end of the day Coda is disappointing in its philosophical vision. We’ve been here before. The moment of death leads to the reliving of the Man’s life. Death herself is a conventional figure, looking much like the pale-faced Bengt Ekerot in The Seventh Seal. At least she doesn’t have a sickle. And finally we have the desperate pleading for more life, which is as old as the medieval mystery play Everyman.
*. So what’s the point, really? When our time is up we’re not getting any more. It’s over. Live your life to the fullest so that you’ll have no regrets. And don’t get drunk and go walking into traffic. Lessons learned.