City (도시) posits an interesting question – what would life be like without boundaries? In this 7 minute animated short film, director Kim Young-geun (김영근) attempts to answer this conundrum by removing all traces of materialism including clothes, walls, buildings, subways and even the very floor itself. There is no narrative as such, merely viewing a day in which the animated characters continue their daily lives.
While this may initially seem akin to a peeping tom production, the animation is an interesting piece as it attempts to raise awareness of the proximity of those around each other once barriers have been removed. If the walls between apartments are gone, people would notice and be closer too their neighbours. If the floors and ceilings are gone, people would not feel alienated. This is especially the case as the City itself appears to be Seoul, a city in which millions of people inhabit but do not know each other.
As intriguing an idea as City is, it quickly becomes tiresome as there is no character that introduces audiences to this world, no narrative arc in which audiences can invest. The animation itself (which omits bodily attributes) is also unimpressive. Scenes such as taking the subway are interesting, yet the static omniscient camerawork does nothing to enrich the film. City is a nobel attempt at revealing and deconstructing the man-made barriers that halt people from becoming friends and communities, and inviting the audience to see ‘the real’ in the postmodern society we all inhabit. However, without any protagonist or narrative to guide audiences through this brave new world, City is rather flat.