Stunning Sand Animation

This real-time Ukrainian sand animator, Kseniya Simonva has to be seen to be believed. I’ve never seen anything like it.  She essentially tells us a story by drawing each step of its progression at a time in real time transforming the same sand into the next portion of the story.  It’s truly, truly extraordinary:

Once you’ve taken it in its own right without explanations, here is the run down of what it’s all supposed to mean:

  • 0:00-1:30: A peaceful evening somewhere in the eastern USSR (whether Ukraine, Russia or Belorussia, it’s not clear from the picture). He and she are sitting in the city park, a large Christian Orthodox church can be seen in the distance.
  • 1:30-2:00: Radio announces German invasion into the USSR (June 22nd, 1941), German bombers appear in the air. She’s scared and crying. A patriotic song calling all citizens to arms is played, and her mate obvuiosly heads out to protect the Motherland.
  • 2:00-2:20: Troops are marching out of town, boarding trains and heading out to the frontlines.
  • 2:20-3:05: The kid is born and she takes care of him during the long nights; her tears disappear, replaced with a loving smile.
  • 3:35-3:40: Not quite clear. Could either mean that she and her kid end up under German air raid facing the scary turnmoil, but escape alive. Or, it could represent him battling with the enemies (in the wartime propaganda pictures, German Nazi were often depicted with those ugly pointy noses).
  • 3:40-4:10: She receives a letter from the frontlines. Could it be from him? She’s hopeful.
  • 4:10-4:40: The letter announces that he’s dead. The harsh news turn the beautiful girl into a sorrowful old lady.
  • 4:50-5:05: His grave. Some people in the comments claimed that it’s a Monument to Unknown Soldier. The confusion is understandable, given that these monuments were made to resemble the soldier graves (only scaled up). In other countries, it is common to mark their fallen by crosses; in the USSR, it used to be a wooden or metal pyramid (obelisk) crowned by a star. I am unable to find a photo of one from 1940’s, but here’s a more recent one to give you a general idea. See also this and this (frames from a movie).
  • 5:05-5:30: We can see an old lady mourning him; I would assume it’s his mother. Soon she’s joined by our girl and their little son.
  • 5:30-6:40: A citi razed to the ground by the war is slowly rebuilt.
  • 6:40-7:10: She oftentimes looks out of the window, still hoping that was a mistake and he is not actually dead and will one day return…
  • 7:10-7:40: She sees his image in the glass… In that image, he wears the Russian sailor’s uniform so we can conclude he was a sailor.
  • 7:40-8:10: Their little son joins his mom in looking out of the window… he also wears the kid version of sailor’s uniform, so he’ll obviosly go in his father’s footsteps…
  • 8:10-END: Conclusion of the… movie? “You are forever beside us. 1945.”

And here’s another one she made that won her the entire “Ukraine’s Got Talent” contest:

More.

Thanks to Liz and Rosie for the heads up.

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