Published Jan 14, 2013Told with a stoic and foreboding voiceover, the impressionistic animated short film, In Hanford details the environmental plight of the people in Hanford, Washington after contaminants from nuclear arms manufacturing polluted their land.
Though the verbal detailing of physical and emotional turmoil suffered by these people, losing their hair, their teeth, their dignity, is somewhat heavy-handed—and understandably so—it's Mars' animation that makes this short film essential viewing.
With a charcoal aesthetic, reiterating the feel and sentiment of a poisoned, cancerous earth, he animates the bodily horrors with visual exaggeration, turning normal people into tortured monstrosities, shifting and manipulating into the feelings being verbalized. It's amazing just how in tune with the bodily mutations and pain Mars is, capturing it with utmost aplomb through gradual melding and distortion. Making it even more disturbing is the use of actual actors behind the drawings, making the parallel to our reality.
While undeniably a challenging viewing, it is probably the most effective and intriguing way to tell a story that no one really wants to hear or think about. (Chris Mars)