Chen Liangyu’s 100% Girl is a beautifully drawn glimpse into the ordinary made magical. The film’s thirteen-year-old creator presents the back-and-forth dynamics of a relationship through the motif of making breakfast. In doing so, Chen emphasises the joys of everyday life, and the simple pleasures of eating with a loved one.
The animation, drawn by Chen on her mobile phone, is simple but incredibly dynamic. Soft watercolour-like hues adorn the various food flavours, and even when the colours don’t match up with the food they describe (yellow watermelon?), they still manage to capture the vibrancy of each taste. The personified toaster and pot are cute and full of personality, solidifying the film’s depiction of communion by extending it to the inanimate objects that facilitate the act of breakfasting. The film’s soundtrack is beautiful, serving the innocent joy of the animation perfectly and creating a warm and cosy atmosphere to get lost in. Likewise, the subtitles, imperfect as they may be, contribute to this atmosphere. The occasionally clumsy translation into English corroborates the childlike, rough-and-ready feel of the film, and draws you further into Chen’s world.
The film also offers a surprisingly poignant scene at its conclusion, wherein the (now) happily married animated couple transform into a rich black-and-white photograph of a real married couple. This transition brings the magic of the film to life, erasing the divide between the world of cartoon fantasy and the mundane. It suggests that this magic is present in reality, if not wholly visible.
Overall, Chen’s film is a short burst of uncomplicated pleasure. The enjoyment, for this author at least, lay in the sheer creativity of its execution. There is no greater meaning or fundamental truth to be discovered here, we are simply treated to expression. We are given a look inside the creator’s head, and discover brightness, warmth and colour. The film may not be groundbreaking, but it is creation at its purest.
'100% Girl' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2020.