Theater of Cruelty

Post-apocalyptic animation

Regissør: Simone Hooymans

WARNING / Can a hand-painted animated film convey the turmoil of a notified climate collapse?


In short animation Breed painter Simone Hooymans produce disturbing images. Skyscrapers and entire metropolises are raging and sinking into the ocean like the new Atlantis, while another undulating ocean is populated with torn hands sticking out. There is much symbolism in the many outstretched palms and clenched fists: The fist as a fighting symbol is accompanied by the gentler outstretched hand.

Ras inevitably makes us think of the climate crisis, but it also provokes an inner turmoil.

The sinking of both nature and civilization forms the frame around these symbols. The message is to be found in the interpretation. The Northern Lights in violet and magenta can be interpreted as a cool, transparent allegory for the purgatory. A darker, desolate sequence gives associations to TS Eliot and his Waste Land – an uninhabitable post-war desolation land, equally full of soul torment and inner conflict. This bleak sequence strikes me more than the dramatic, raging avalanche sequences. Abandoned charred rock sails alone through the ether, losing its last trees to perdition.


Breed is about so much. Consultant Stein Ståle Berg of the NFI, who has supported the production with funds, has summed it up as follows: The film examines the power of change in a crisis. Under Hooymans' brush, the collapse is very viable. Massive mountain ranges crackle as red-hot interiors are uncovered and sprawling roots accelerate. Hooymans has chosen to represent man in the form of its intervention, through the architectural and large urban constructions. Nature is deserted, the fauna absent. Plants, water, fire and the massive are the building blocks of the film. The character of Hooymans' previous film work with the use of great contrasts in technique and expression is recognizable. Intricate watercolor painted universes amaze and transform. The dynamic momentum of the constant change drives the pace ahead. The symphony of the elements creates an unstoppable, penetrating sound. Hooymans has managed to capture the relentless relentlessness of the breed.

Illustrations: Simone Hooymans
Illustrations: Simone Hooymans

Breed makes us reckless climate crisis, but it also arouses inner turmoil – a fear of what has stagnated. As in video and concept art Marianne Heseke's many works with the same theme are man and nature reflections. Heskesh deepens connection by pointing to the place-bound, linguistic anchoring between natural phenomena and emotional expressions. She talks about the rage and the rage, the slides and the slides of emotions. Hooymans communicates non-verbally while exploring the use of her own multimedia language. Repetitive visuality is a grip.

It is a therapy and horror scenario. It is the outbreak of Vesuvius and the great bang.

The torn human hands from the desolate sequence described at the outset are surrounded by seaweed growths with finger-like leaves. A sequence of rhythmically striped high-rise buildings serves as an echo of the swaying plant forest in the previous sequence. Hooymans examines the transitions between where one ends and the other begins. She lets the boundaries be fluid and moving. They form a counter-pole to the massively grinding of the landslides, which are incessant like Swiss watches. Small propellers are repeated in countless sequences and become like meta comments to the core of the theme.


"The understanding of race is clinically impossible to translate," Marianne Heske said in an interview with Truls Lie in Morgenbladet in connection with exhibitions in Paris and Berlin in 1998.

"They do not have the same reference background, the breed is not incorporated into their language," Heske said of French and Germans. She might as well have said this about animation creator Simone Hooymans, who comes from the flat and expansive Netherlands. In depicting the landslide's dynamics, Hooymans equally conveys, in a masterful way, the imminent mercilessly warned race and its course of life. Repeating cyclic races have followed man at all times. Hooymans' account of pervasive life force that bursts through is therefore both personally rooted and universal.

The film captivates me with its translucency and lingering destructive insistence. The sound and music side is sacred and exalted. Something about the work makes me want to dwell on it. The complexity and power of the ongoing rage is alluring and redeeming. It is a therapy and horror scenario. It is the outbreak of Vesuvius and the great bang. The delicate, transparent watercolor strokes evoke an exploding color feast and a disturbing, densified darkness.

RAS was the movie of the month in December 2019.



Ellen Lande
Ellen Lande
Lande is a film writer and director and a regular writer for Ny Tid.

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