Director Kangmin Kim’s (Greatest Party Story Ever Told, Visit (Short)) Deer Flower has been selected by 43 film festivals worldwide including the prestigious Sundance, Aspen Shortfest and Palm Springs Short Film Festival. This animation film has already won eight awards, including two Oscar qualifying festivals wins, Best Animation Short Award at Melbourne International Film Festival and Best Animation Film at Aspen Shortfest. Deer Flower will also screen at the London Korean Film Festival and recently won a special jury Honorable Mention at the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Deer Flower is the story of the summer of 1992, Dujung, an elementary student, goes to a farm in the suburbs with his parents. While his parents believe the expensive and rare specialty from the deer farm will strengthen their son’s body, Dujung suffers side effects.
The question I am faced with is: can you like a film, without actually liking a film? Doesn’t make sense right? Stick with me. Deer Flower is a wonderful piece of animation, of that there is no doubt. I’m unsure if it’s truly stop-motion or purely graphics or a mixture, it looks like a mixture but I could be wrong. Whatever it is, it is glorious on a visual scale. The colours, the look and the feel all leap out at you, even the switch between what looks like stop-motion into graphical elements isn’t as jarring as you’d expect.
So what don’t I like? Well, I don’t really understand what it is all about. A young boy goes somewhere with his parents, does something that costs his father a lot of money, then they leave (I’m trying not to give too much away). Perhaps it’s a cultural thing? I’m unsure but the story doesn’t resonate with me as much as I feel it should. Despite that though, I do like the young boy, our protagonist, he seems caring and a little out of his depth.
It is easy to see why Deer Flower has done so well. It is truly wonderful to see, visually it smacks you round the head, in a good way. The fact the story didn’t resonate for me didn’t stop me liking the short and I see it as more my failing then Kim’s. A gorgeous piece of animation that makes you want to see it again and again.