The title refers to the two characters who open and end the film, but combined with the symmetrical structure and the mid-film inversion, it also points to 2's many dualities.
It's been much too long since we spotlighted a Quickdraw short in our Monday Shorts series. The whole point of these writeups is to share films that we love, which means there's a whole world of films to potentially distract us. Still, that's no reason to forget the films created in our own back yard.
Kim Anderson has made three films so far at Quickdraw: there was 2008's The Fall, a visceral examination of creation and destruction that merges Anderson's drawings with eclectic collage art; 2012's Hold, which makes novel use of digital video; and 2, the shortest and seemingly the most straightforward to the works. Drawn in black and white and clocking in at just over two minutes outside of its credits, 2 may not be as overtly adventurous as Anderson's later films, but it's an oddly insistent work in its own right.
Part of that sense of intrigue comes from 2's structure. The basic form of the film is a palindrome, reading the same forwards and back. That there-and-back-again structure gives more time to appreciate Anderson's ability to shift between artistic modes, and nod to other works. The film builds from stick figures to high realism (using da Vinci's "Heads of an old man and a youth"), to abstraction and ultimately to text, taking a passage from Banana Yoshimoto's Amrita and remixing it into a cloud of emotionally charged language. Visual and textual quotation is baked into the film's DNA; in a certain sense, it's as much a collage as Anderson's later films, even if its borrowing isn't quite so obvious on first glance.
The title refers to the two characters who open and end the film, but combined with the symmetrical structure and the mid-film inversion, it also points to 2's many dualities. Age and youth. Images and text. Representation and abstraction. No wonder it leaves the viewer with a sense of a riddle to be solved. All the more reason to watch it again, urged along by Carlo Spidla's gentle guitar and Anderson's fluid pacing.