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Library [Kaveh Kanani, Islamic Republic of Iran, 2020]

Library (Fingils) is a short, sweet, and simple animation from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Set in a world inhabited by animals, it chronicles a young chicken’s desperate search for somewhere quiet where he can read a book. No matter where he goes though, he is disturbed by his friends who are oblivious to his frustration.

The simplicity and the whimsical characters make Library appealing for young children. There’s a chicken called Chicken, a bear called Bear, a mole called Mole etc., and they are all nicely animated like a child’s painting brought to life. The backgrounds have a scribbled, messy aesthetic, which suits the content and the style. The pleasant visuals are complimented by fittingly bouncy music. Chicken makes an ideal lead character with which children can relate to and sympathise. He’s got an incredibly cute appearance too, with a nervous facial expression and wide childlike eyes behind thick spectacles. Despite his determination to read his book, he’s a great model to teach kids not to lose their tempers or treat their friends cruelly.

Bear with me

Many of the laughs are provided by the goofy side characters Chicken encounters. The most memorable of these is the overlarge, oafish Bear who is sure to make the little ones laugh hysterically. Older audiences may even find themselves chuckling too, though the quirkiness and oddness that is on display may just as equally be a turnoff. The film can’t resist an iris out ending reminiscent of old Walt Disney cartoons. Strangely though, the last shot of most of the characters shows them scowling. While it’s hard not to smile from ear-to-ear at this closing moment, it would have been nice if there was a bit more camaraderie to see the short out.

Though it is clearly aimed at young audiences, Library overcomplicates nothing and tells its easy-to-follow story in a way children can understand and enjoy. The resolution is obvious from the start, but this is a mostly wonderful short with endearing characters and a positive message.


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