Where to even start with Astigmatismo. Back in 2013, our festival jury awarded it with an honourable mention for Most Innovative Animation, and six years later, I’m still not convinced I’ve seen anything else like it. Director Nicolai Troshinsky wanted to capture the feeling of being lost, representing it visually by having the main character, whose glasses have been stolen, only focus on one small area at a time. Filmed with a multiplane camera setup with five layers, the film only gives viewers glimpses of the whole, with constant motion on the other, blurred-out layers adding to the film’s inner anxiety.
The film’s brilliant sound design guides the viewer as much as the ever-shifting camera does, and only enhances the feeling that everything in Astigmatismo is alive and in motion, and more than a little threatening. It’s as if Troshinsky has tapped into a more primal version of our visual systems, before the mind learned to fill in the gaps of our saccades and hold onto a consistent image–watching the film is enough to instill a sense of low-level panic, despite the lack of anything explicitly threatening.
Remarkably, all of the visual effects were achieved under camera, with the lens’ focus controlled by a computer to allow for more precision in the rapidly changing viewpoints. But regardless of how it was achieved, the importance is the effect itself, a unique sensory experience and a hauntingly memorable animation.
dir: Nicolai Troshinsky
syn: “A boy, having lost his glasses, can only see one thing in focus at a time. His sight gets attracted by the sounds that surround him. He will have to explore a blurry world of unknown places and strange characters.”
“Astigmatismo” is a short-film about the feeling of being lost. This feeling is created thanks to an extreme blur effect, leaving only a very tiny space in focus. The focus shifts and moves rhythmically, synchronized with the sounds and the music, revealing a constantly changing landscape.