As idiosyncratic as animation can be, it’s rare to find a film that truly shows you something you’ve never seen before. Alice Dunseath’s You Could Sunbathe In This Storm is about as close as I’ve seen to a truly original vision. Anchored by a voiceover that provides poetic context more than narrative, the film is an abstract animation with its own unique visual language, full of pastel colours, platonic solids, fractal crystals and fractured ceramic. The poem gives an idea of the themes—it’s a film about change, and relationships, and patterns, and maybe perception (although she has another film that addresses that last one much more directly). But Dunseath never spells it out, trusting the imagery to hold your attention long enough that it’ll worm its way into your unconscious.
Even though they’re quite different in terms of aesthetics and intent, I always end up associating You Could Sunbathe In This Storm with Calvin Frederick’s Agrabagrabah, another short that uses incredibly tactile processes to get at very abstracted subjects. Both have such a concrete physicality that they feel as much like sculptural installations as films. But where Agrabagrabah’s unsettling atmosphere is built from elements that are clearly artificial, You Could Sunbathe is wonderfully organic even in its most sculpted moments. Its warmth makes it a much easier film to return to, and a much more comfortable one to get lost in.