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Martina Scarpelli’s Egg (2018)

Everything in an animated world can grow, shrink or transform in the blink of an eye, and the simple cube in which Egg's narrator resides does all that, constantly—and so does the character.

Black and white image of a close up shot of a person holding an egg in front of their face. The egg's shadow makes the mouth and nose of the person cloaked in black.

CW: Eating Disorders

NOTE: This Monday short was originally posted on November 18, 2019. We are re-uploading some of Peter Hemminger's amazing Monday Shorts until further notice.

An honest admission: One of my biggest regrets as a programmer at an animation festival is missing Egg in its initial run. In the midst of watching hundreds of short films, previewing it on my laptop, I found myself liking but not loving it. The moment I saw it in theatres, I realized how wrong I'd been, as the power of its painfully personal depiction of anorexia fully hit me. I missed it, but 150+ other festivals didn't, and its award-winning run is well deserved.

What strikes me most about Egg now, what I missed when I first saw it, is its unrelenting rhythm. Much of the film is, to me, about the need for routine in defying disorder, but also the way disorder creates its own routine. The repeated counting of the ribs is its own holy ritual, one that needs to be balanced or countered by the shopping lists and meals. Scarpelli's voice reinforces this rhythm with its constant counting and repetition, building anticipation and releasing tension through repeated phrases.

But there's another reason Egg works so well as animation, instead of merely a story or poem or documentary, and that's the malleability of the medium. Everything in an animated world can grow, shrink or transform in the blink of an eye, and the simple cube in which Egg's narrator resides does all that, constantly—and so does the character. The boundary between mental and physical state simply don't exist, and the internal and external environment are linked inextricably.

Simple as Egg seems at first glance, it's a film that demands and deserves your full attention. There's a reason it has won over 40 international awards, and it'll be obvious once you see.

dir: Martina Scarpelli

syn: A woman is locked in her home with an egg. She eats the egg, she repents. She kills it. She lets the egg die of hunger.

2018