Applesauce poses many complex questions, yet at the same time stands out for its lightness, its cheerfulness, its simplicity. Divided into four parts – with equal number of frames – this little, delicate short film by Alexander Gratzer is characterised by a minimalist aesthetic with two-dimensional drawings in pastel colours that remind us so much of French animation cinema.
The meaning of life
In Austria, with the exception of a few short experimental films, not much attention is paid to animation cinema. Yet, from time to time, one comes across some pleasant surprises. This is the case, for instance, with the short film Applesauce, written, directed and produced by Alexander Gratzer and premiered at the Diagonale 2019. A deep sensitivity, a welcome touch of humour and also a certain lightness, therefore, immediately capture our attention and take us by the hand into a world that reminds us so much of the fairy tales we used to listen to as children.
What is the meaning of life? What role do everyday life, freedom and, above all, dreams play? These and many other existential questions are discussed in Applesauce. Yet it is not humans who discuss them, but animals themselves, be they two birds perched in a nest or two polar bears. Animals seem to have discovered the secret to happiness. And often the simplest solution is just to take an apple, wash it, peel it and mash it up. But what about humans? Compared to animals, humans – in this case two clumsy guards – seem much more uncertain and much more confused. Are they really superior beings?
Applesauce poses many complex questions, yet at the same time stands out for its lightness, its cheerfulness, its simplicity. Divided into four parts – with an equal number of frames – this little, delicate short film by Alexander Gratzer is characterised by a minimalist aesthetic with two-dimensional drawings in pastel colours that remind us so much of French animation cinema.
In just seven minutes, then, everything is said in Applesauce. There is no need for anything else. And the director knows well what to focus on, what to concentrate on. A particularly quiet and contemplative mood thus becomes one of the hallmarks of the short film. The mild restlessness of some characters is soon subdued. We ourselves often cause problems that would otherwise not exist. And mostly being finally happy is much easier than one might think.
Nominated as Best Short Film at the Österreichischer Filmpreis 2020, Applesauce is a little gem within contemporary Austrian cinema. A precious jewel that fortunately got the attention it deserves. And even if animation cinema is not yet a widespread art in Austria, it is still able to give us from time to time real pleasures for the eyes and the soul.
Original title: Apfelmus
Directed by: Alexander Gratzer
Country/year: Austria / 2019
Running time: 7’
Screenplay: Alexander Gratzer
Cinematography: Alexander Gratzer
Produced by: Alexander Gratzer