Mar 3, 2019
I haven't written a review before, but this work seems so under discussed and misunderstood that I felt I had to. While Head Spoon, like many other metaphorical, minimalistically animated, three to six minute shows under this category, is abstract, it is also one of the most accessible entries in the genre. And no, this is not animation just for the sake of how the drawings look, and does not intentionally not make sense for the sake of depicting "head trauma."
There will be spoilers and points of interpretation in this review, so if you are the type of person (like me) for whom a
lot of the fun is thinking through the work yourself, don't read this. I'm not going to try to give an exhaustive analysis (in part because I think the power of these films is that they communicate things that can't be put easily into words), instead I'm just going to note a few aspects of an interpretation to give you a sense into what this show is about for a person who really enjoys these types of films.
In terms of format, this movie is a series of short 10-20 second segments tied together by a recurring image of an egg shaped head being hit by a spoon, causing a crack in the egg. The standard theme of the segments is to begin show a somewhat ordinary occurrence with unexpected results, which go on to illustrate a metaphorical truth. The opening of the movie expands the most on what the visual of the egg and spoon means. In the opening, a mostly colorless human in a mostly colorless world has their head hit by a spoon, and immediately the world erupts in an explosion of color. A very natural way of understanding this is to say that the spoon is in some way expanding our perspective by cracking open a shell that represents our mental space. The image of our heads as eggs is evocative in part because like eggs, our heads contain potential for growth. When the image recurs in other parts of the movie, what we see coming back is the world that is full of color and not the colorless world.
Given that the image of the egg being cracked keeps reoccurring it is natural to understand the image as a metaphor for the author's project in the movie and in each individual segment. In each segment, something ordinary (or colorless) is being given color (metaphorical meaning.) The moment when the unexpected result in each segment occurs is the spoon cracking our egg and bringing us into a new perspective.
To give a better idea of what I mean, I'll briefly describe two of my favorite segments and how I interpret them.
1) A nude man is gardening and watering a plant. Rather than plants emerging from the ground is response to his care, they emerge on his body as facial, chest, and pubic hair and nothing emerges from the ground. Interpretation: Pubic and facial hair are ways of referring to maturity. Efforts to care for the world and for others (like gardening) may not always lead to objective results in the world, however over time that work will bring you true adulthood and maturity.
2) A line of well dressed men are knocking on doors into a building. Rather than the doors being opened for the men to walk through, they finally squeeze themselves in through the keyhole and the doors remain closed. Interpretation: We expect many institutions and communities to open their doors for us based on our interest in them and persistence, but some will never open the doors for our requests. However if we mold ourselves into what the institutions want, then we can enter as easily as if there were no doors at all.
Overall I didn't give this a higher score because to me compared to other projects in this genre the main concept is a bit on the nose and some of the metaphors were simplistic. For someone who is just getting started with the genre though, these features just improve the accessibility of the work.
(Last note: Its not necessary for getting a lot out of the movie, but if you want to engage with it even more deeply after watching it once, ask yourself what the significance of colors were within the otherwise colorless main segments and what it meant that the egg person's clothing was colored even before being hit by the spoon.)
What did you think of this review?