SHORT FOCUS 2019: Tide [Berkant Dumlu, Switzerland, 2019]
Although Tide has many levels of interpretation, as the sun glares down in record temperatures and unprecedented fires rage across the melting arctic, it is difficult to view it outside of the context of the current climate emergency. In two minutes, this animation shows a man’s futile attempts to escape a deadly rising tide.
This film is a good example of how a little goes a long way. The combination of a barren landscape, one faceless character and ominous music is enough to convey a sense of dread and danger.
The well-drawn plains are shockingly empty, with no sign of trees, plants or even a far off cityscape in the distance. This startling homogeneity creates a sense of claustrophobia despite the wide horizon, as no matter where the man runs to, he is always confronted by the same inescapable horizons.
The man himself, his eyes hidden from us by goggles, cuts an eerie figure. The combination of his flappy outfit and childish rubber ring shows a silly lack of preparedness for an oncoming disaster, which could be amusing were it not so hauntingly reflective of our own shambolic responses (or lack thereof) to environmental disasters. As he fades into nothingness, the depopulated landscape becomes a future ghost of humanity.
The final image of the man waist deep in water reveals his failure to escape, and suggests that worse is to come. With Tide, Berkant Dumlu triumphs in quickly cultivating an atmosphere that is mesmerising as it is disturbing.
'Tide' is part of the Official Selection for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.