Fishing at Lethe Short Film

Derek Fong

Why Watch? In this dreamy animated short film from Derek Fong, an old woman begins to see shadowed figures in her living room, which would be enough to concern anyone, but then a whale floats up to her windowsill. Naturally, she hops on for a ride back into her own memories.

As you can see from the image above, the style is rudimentary — a nod back to Steamboat Willie that Fong uses deftly to build visually layers to coincide with the story itself. Fishing at Lethe is about finding clarity and bringing the past into focus, so our simply outlined main character gets dropped into each space almost as a cutout. A figure that doesn’t quite belong in the environment.

The comic strip style also evokes an endearing fantasy element even with a difficult subject matter lurking beneath.

The only misstep is a repeated piano tune that breezes in and too obviously highlights certain moments. Without it, or with a different sound cue, the film would breathe a bit more.

Overall, it’s a beautiful and slightly whimsical look at a common struggle. A film that thankfully (and maybe joyously) offers a resolution that’s as hazily defined as its artwork.

What Will It Cost? About 4 minutes.

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