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Sophie Koko Gate's Half Wet (2014)

The pervasive sense of melancholy, the dream-like story structure, the dark, dry humour; all of them create a mood that's hard to describe and equally hard to forget. 

title card for Sophie Koko Gate's Half Wet (2014). A bright turquoise background, a feminine figure with pink skin and wavy hair is illustrated holding a jellyfish in the manner of a baby. She's wearing a simple black two piece bathing suit. 
The words "Half Wet" are offset in the background in a slightly darker turquoise. The right side of the image shows all of the awards the film has won: 
Official Selection SXSW - 2015
Official Selection Slamdance - 2015
Official Selection BFI Film Festival - 2014
Shortlisted Best Student Animation London Short Film Festival - 2015
WINNER Jabberwocky Award Etuidia Et Anima
Official Selection animation Block Party - 2015
Official Selection Animage Brazil - 2014
Official Selection Tricky Women - 2015
Official Selection NW animation festival - 2015
Official Selection Animafest Zagreb - 2015
Official Selection Go Short Festival - 2015
Official Selection WFAF Varna - 2015
Official Selection NW Animation Festival - 2015
Official Selection Premier Plans - 2015
Official Selection Animage Brazil - 2014
Official Selection Anima Mundi - 2015
Official Selection Flapack festival Burningham - 2015
Official Seletion Animfest Athens - 2015
Official Selection Tel Aviv Festival - 2015

NOTE: This Monday short was originally posted on March 26, 2018. We are re-uploading Peter Hemminger's original Monday Shorts until further notice.

Sophie Koko Gate's Half Wet strikes a tone that is really difficult to describe—somewhere between a poem and a parody, and it's pitched at a level that makes it hard to know how seriously to take it. On the one hand, it does strike a chord with its worries about aging; Gus, the main character, is turning 25 and worries about his youth evaporating, all while pining over an ex who may show up at his birthday. On the other, it fully recognizes how trite that all sounds, and pokes fun at its own neuroses. It's sincere and self-aware all at once.

That's a particularly contemporary mix, and so is the overall design. It's odd how much you can already look back and recognize a mid-2010s aesthetic, but everything from the pink, purple and blue colour scheme to the floating frames from a mid-film fantasy are clearly from the time of the Tumblr aesthetic and vaporwave. That's not a shot—Half Wet is a great-looking film, and the pseudo-surreal art direction adds a lot to the mood. But it's also interesting to see the ways Gate has played with that style in her newer works, taking what's already a distinctive look and evolving it in ways that are much harder to pin down.

PS - If you're curious about Gate's process, there's a great interview from 2014 over at Director's Notes, where she shouts out (March 19, 2018)'s Monday Short artist Nicolas Menard.

syn.We are all born as wet as a banana, around 75% water. By the time we reach adulthood that amount goes down to 54% water. Gus bumps into Tiny Eyes at dusk, on the eve of his 25th birthday.

dir. Sophie Koko Gate

Sound and music. Jonny Wildey AKA Alphabets Heaven