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|Index||18 reviews in total|
16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Wow!!! Wise, Intriguing, and very clever!!!, 25 June 2005
Author: russianbear54 from United States
This is a creepy little short film, but definitely worth watching. For
a while I thought that I'd be informed that I'll die in seven days or
something, but what I saw was an excellent satire on human nature. The
style, the animation, and the plot go together like clockwork. There's
no music and no voices, but the animation, the environment, and the
sound all speak for themselves. Unfortunately they speak the truth,
this is both a warning and a foreshadow.
Here's what's going on. Five virtually identical beings are living on a platform that hovers inside a void. The only way these beings differ from each other is by the random numbers on their backs. They each have a purpose; to balance the platform, or it will tip over and they will fall. They are perfectly aware of that and go about with caution. The equilibrium is challenged when one of the beings recovers a mysterious artifact from beneath.
I dare to say no more! You can watch this film for free on Lauenstein.TV. Go see it right now!
15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Short, 22 March 2000
Author: mctheimer from Bellevue, Washington, USA
It's been several years since I saw this, but it sticks in my mind like I
saw it recently. This short does one of the best jobs I've ever seen of
making a point in minimal screen time.
I won't go into the plot of the moral; part of the joy of this film is figuring it out. When I saw it, you could watch the audience members individually recognize what was happening over the time of the film. It's under 10 minutes long (I believe), and it would be a shame to spoil it for someone.
The film is not something children would enjoy. While there's nothing objectionable about the film, it's not typical colorful, pretty animation. One thing that struck me is that the animation style is very Eastern European, while the plot is rather Asian (group dynamics).
The bottom line is that this is well worth seeing -- and it won't even take that much time out of your schedule!
8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
One of the most disturbing shorts I've ever seen. This is excellent!, 13 December 2001
Author: Robert Reynolds (email@example.com) from Tucson AZ
This short won an Oscar for Animated Short and was most deserving of the honor. This has got to be the most disturbing and thought-provoking animated short I've ever seen in all of my life. I kept thinking about the ending for several days. It reminds me of a three part Chinese curse: 1) May you live in interesting times 2) May people in high places take notice of you and 3) May you get everything you wish for. A sad commentary on human nature. This is in print on The World's Greatest Animation and is worth getting, not just for Balance, but for practically everything on it, as it's all worth seeing and most is outstanding! Most highly recommended.
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Mindblowing, 28 January 2002
Author: Ed Cowell from Cleveland, OH
Sometimes the visuals in our heads can only be realized through animation,because it is not bound by flesh,gravity or reality. BALANCE is twisted and surreal,an interesting look at men who risk falling into nothingness for the chance to hear music. The equivalent of a Kathe Koja story set to film,BALANCE is unforgettable right up to its ironic, haunting final image.
8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A Stunning Work from Germany's Communist Collapse, 9 December 2007
Author: ShortoftheWeek from United States
A platform floats in a neutral space. Strange men, identical except for
the numbers on their back, appearing as though out of some dystopian
future, must work in concert to prevent the platform from tipping. The
emergence of a strange box, a new development in this closed and
sterile space, disrupts the tedium but also the teamwork, as each man
wants to individually inspect and enjoy the boxthreatening them all as
the platform becomes increasingly unbalanced.
Add though a context. A time and place to the film's creation. Germany, 1989. The fact that the men are identical but for their numbers, is this not a oft-used symbol for the anonymity desired of those in a Communist society? That they are all the same and thus interchangeable? The cooperation they display at first is perhaps indicative of Socialism, and the box, what is the meaning of the music it plays, the dancing it inspired? Radio Free Europe used to broadcast American music, such as the jazz heard coming out of the box, into Communist countries throughout the Cold War. Perhaps the box is a symbol of possibility, of what is outside the closed system, which inevitably undermines said system.
And so a parable about selfishness becomes an allegory about German society and Soviet Communism at its fall. The sad and ironic ending of Balance, who is at fault? The men that fail to do what is best for them? Or the system that fails to acknowledge this human quality?
Read the full review at ShortoftheWeek.com
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A perfect film, 21 February 2000
Author: Hound-2 (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Providence, RI
I second the view of the Canadian commentator, who said this was the greatest animated short every made. It is perfect in a way only Chris Marker's "La Jetee" is--pure and simply, one of the best films ever made. Go out of your way to find it on video--it should be on one of the "International Tournee of Animation" videos or the video pictured above. 6 men. 1 platform. And a strange object.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
First-rate animation short, 3 January 2000
Author: fordraff (email@example.com) from Stroudsburg, PA
This short film was completely absorbing and finely worked out. It held my attention from the moment it began until the conundrum of an ending, which earned it a round of applause at the 19th Street Theatre in Allentown, PA, where I saw it. The film illustrates the need for humankind to cooperate and shows what happens when one doesn't do so, when he puts his selfish interest above the good of the group, even to sending others to their death. One's selfish pursuit cannot be justified, the film implies, even in the pursuit of art (after all, it was music in the box and the man wanted that music for himself or wanted to explore the interior of the box, i.e., the music, in greater depth). Film has many implications, would repay several viewings and stimulate much discussion.
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A masterpiece, 22 November 2001
Author: Colin McEvoy (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Pennsylvania, USA
By far the greatest short I have ever seen. The style of animation in this
short is very interesting and a little dark, but appropriate for the
The moral of the short, the need for cooperation in society and what could
happen without it, comes through clearly and is well done. It won the
for Best Short Film in 1990, and it certainly deserved it. Check this
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
The most profound short that I have ever seen., 24 April 2001
Author: Tom Murray (email@example.com) from Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Balance stresses the need for Cooperation in society when, in our present times, Individuality is paramount. In this film, the whole world is a raft in space, containing only four men, who are fishing. They must always work as a team, spreading out around the raft (world), to keep it in balance, or else they will all fall off into the void. To be together, they must all be in the middle, to keep the raft from tipping over. One man pulls up a chest that plays music very quietly. He desires to keep the chest for himself, so he does not move it to the middle of the raft, where all could enjoy it. The desire of all to be close to that chest undermines their teamwork, with dire results. It is fascinating to watch how, in their desire for the chest, they begin to test the limits of their environment, just as man is currently doing with pollution. This film stresses that when you finally do find out what the environmental limits are, the damage is already done: it is too late; disaster will ensue. It should be a requirement that all students study this film in class, every few years--since their understanding of it will grow as they do. This visual impression could have a profound impact on the environmental thinking of future generations, if we allow them to exist. Balance is the best allegory and the best short that I have ever seen. If you like Balance, then I would suggest that you watch Neighbours (1952) by the great Canadian animator Norman McLaren.
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Astounding Short, 3 August 2006
Author: Duzniak38 (Duzniak38@aol.com) from Essex
Balance is a excellent short which revolves around a square board hanging in the air. This board represents the world. On this board are five men, all fishing over the side. There obviously represent the people of the world. These five men must cooperate with each other in order to keep the board balanced so that it doesn't tip. One man then reels up a musical box from the side of the board. This man wants to keep this box all to himself. However if he does this the board will become unbalanced and will effect others. But if this man were to put the musical box in the centre of the board and share it so that everybody could enjoy it together, then peace and calm would still exist on the board. This is obviously referring to people's possessions and resources, and how if one part of the world takes too much power over resources, then other parts of the world will be effected, yet if we shared all resources, all countries would be balanced and we would have no need for concern and worry. The short is simple and creepy, yet this emphasises even more about how the shorts message need to be taken into account and have something done about it, because it's message is simple and the ideas of what could happen if the world went into conflict over resources is an unsettling feeling. The end consequences of the short are amusing, but hint what could happen in reality. This short is very clever and well-made, and has messages and meaning. A short I could view many times and have very good conversation and debate over. A really interesting film to seek out.
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