A Tangled and Beautiful Tale

Here’s a mesmerizing short film that floated across my radar this morning, courtesy of Corrie Francis Parks, “a freelance animator and photographer based in Montana.” (Montana, huh? So, as we say here in the Wide Open Spaces of Wyoming, “a next door neighbor.”) Somewhat unsurprisingly given her location and interests, this short deals with fishing. But that’s only a surface interpretation.

A lone fish, hooked by an angler’s line, encounters another in the same dire situation. As the two fish struggle against their fate, they develop an inevitable, entangling attraction. Is it love or merely a will to survive?

The story is parable-esque — “Tanglements are largely unnoticed at first; then, scary; yet learning to live with them is often essential to our shared survival” is what I came up with during my first viewing — offering plenty on the “thought-provoking” side of things to keep one’s attention. But I found myself loving it mostly for its style. So unusual and so fluid.

In the “Making of” short associated with “A Tangled Tale,” Corrie describes sand animation as “one of those esoteric animation techniques that no animator ever thinks they’re going to get into.” And that notion of creating by means of a process “intended for or understood by only a particular group” is probably why she turned to Kickstarter for funding. But I think she’s selling us (and herself) short.

Now, I’ve long considered myself exceedingly esoteric, so maybe she’s right, and I just happen to fall squarely into the short’s “Esoteric Sweet Spot.” But the results seem pretty universally lovable to me. And I really hope I’m not alone.

(I’m not sure if the fact that it instantly reminded me of the “Arabian Dance” segment in Fantasia confirms or undercuts my esotericity. I know exactly where my second association — “The Last Airbender’s” Tui and La – puts me, though. Pipe down.)

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.