It’s ultimately a personal matter, but I’d argue animation is at its best when it functions as poetry rather than prose. Especially when it comes to topics like love. There are any number of animated shorts that tell love stories as another narrative, using the medium to heighten emotion or stylize the characters. They pull at the heartstrings and can communicate powerful truths, but ultimately what they’re telling is still a story.

Then there are films like Honami YANO’s Tokyo School of the Arts graduate film, Chromosome Sweetheart—films that live in complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty. I’ve watched Chromosome Sweetheart dozens of times, and I still can’t decide if it’s optimistic or cynical about love, let alone piecing together an understanding of how all its vignettes fit together. But that disorienting rush of emotions—brief moments of tenderness, anxiety, heartbreak and elation—feel far more true to the experience of love than a straightforward story. It is complex, exhilarating and a bit gross, and what’s more, it feels different every time I see it. It is inconsistent in the best sense of the word, and that’s why it’s so worth returning to.

 

CHROMOSOME SWEETHEART

dir: Honami YANO

syn: An ex-couple in a café, a girl sucking on her girlfriend’s hair, a running woman, a fleeing town, a little girl walking along the river. In this world, there are as many forms of love as there are people.

© 2017 Honami YANO & Tokyo University of the Arts



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