‘Opera’ tackles hate crimes and social issues in Asia – Deadline

For his Oscar nominated animated short, Opera, director Erick Oh wanted to create an animation that captured the essence of human history. The looping animation style was ideal for the story he wanted to tell, which Oh attributes to the cyclical nature of the story.

Composed of many small scenes interacting and taking place next to each other in a large pyramidal structure, Opera is a large-scale reflection on the cyclical nature of humanity. In this nine-minute animation, the film tells the story of a civilization, from horrific beginning to end, repeating itself over and over again.

Duality was a big factor in Oh’s decision-making process for the short, which was conceptually shown with the two opposite sides of the pyramid. The left side, with warm, reddish colors, contrasted with the cool, bluish palette of the right side. “The left and right really represent whatever is opposed to each other,” says Oh. “It can be a political perspective, or life and death or yin and yang. It could be anything.

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While the art style is influenced by famous Renaissance painters, the story is based on the darker side of history, as well as the current state of the world. “It’s something we experience every day,” Oh says. “Asian hate crimes are one of the biggest social problems in America.” True to her view of our current world, Oh mixed her exposure of social issues with a view of hope and beauty. “[Opera] conveys a lot of social issues including racism, religious strife, political strife or terrorism, but it also talks about celebrating the beauty of life. There is a newborn baby and many other beautiful things too. “

Opera is not just a reflection of America. “My friends in France,” said Oh, “were like, ‘Hey Erick, this is what’s going on in Paris’. And then my friends here, “This is so America.” And my Korean friends and my Japanese friends all say the same thing. His goal was to capture what is really going on ‘below’, which resonates with people of all cultures. “It’s really everyone’s reflection,” says Oh. “It’s almost like putting a mirror on ourselves and it makes us think, are we really learning from the past?”

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