Candid Cinema

Oscar-Nominated Short Film ‘Bestia’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

What works the most with animation is an obscure story that can only be told through the use of imagination. There is so much that works through the lens of stop-motion animation, or any form of animation. Specifically, in Bestia we find ourselves connected with the lead character Ingrid, which is a porcelain doll, as she is lost in her own thoughts while travelling. There’s a small hole in her temple that symbolizes so much as the story progresses. Ingrid is a secret police agent working during the Chilean military dictatorship. Director Hugo Covarrubias shows the duality of one’s imagination when trying to keep stories straight.

It is always difficult to know everyone’s secrets while maintaining some sort of sanity. Especially when it comes to going undercover. Ingrid battles with her own mind and her career as the lines between her reality and nightmares blur because of the situation she’s in. As she continues her duty as a secret police agent, there are these really dark moments that she has with her dog. Some of the images are very obscure, others really concerning, but it does show how she is slowly breaking down. It almost felt like she was spiralling. There were normal moments that she shared during the day with her dog, but then at night, those pure moments of repetitive daily life turned into night terrors.

In a way, Covarrubias showed how people lived during the dictatorship. How even though there are these difficult moments filled with sorrow, there can always be a silver lining to the day. Almost like a fresh start; a new beginning to each day. There can be a positive way to look at Bestia even through all the darkness, but it makes sense to turn the page and understand how broken Ingrid’s mind became because of her work. The stop-motion animation allowed Covarrubias to explore this story on a different emotional level. He chose to show how broken the system was in Chile, while also showing how it broke the people living there at the same time.

Bestia is a stop-motion animated short film that explores the Chilean dictatorship and how the people who lived through it felt. If you view the emotional connection to Ingrid in an abstract way, you can see the gravity of the situation. Ingrid’s mind was being shattered because of everything that was happening and her need for normalcy. It’s a different way to use stop-motion animation and there is always an appreciation for it because animation can visually show something more than live-action can. It’s more experimental and can leave certain imagery to be interpreted by the viewer. Even though some images can be unsettling, it’s a very interesting watch and it places the importance on mental health.

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