Escape by Jaroslaw Kanopka

Review by Will Mitten

This film centres on a mother and a son are balanced on the verge between life and death as they try and to save themselves and their world.

Director Jaroslaw Konopka’s claymation style creates an unnerving atmosphere throughout the duration of the film. Moreover, his visual aesthetic seems to owe quite a lot to the animations of the Brother’s Quay, Ladislas Starewicz, Jan Švankmajer, from the darkly surreal puppets to his sinister use music. In this regard, there is an overall sense of foreboding in this film and as it continues we get a sense that there will be no escape for the protagonists their fate.

The films story is influenced by pogroms  which were these massacres of Jewish people in places like Volhynia, Belarus and Jedwabne and these atrocities had a common elements of burning, wooden stakes and barns being burnt filled with people.

In this regard, this style of animation really lends itself to conveying this kind of absolute horror as the first person perspective of the camera truly allows the audience to get an understanding of the sense of dread that permeates this film in this oppressive dystopia.

In conclusion, Jaroslav’s challenging aesthetic and horrifying narrative is sometimes an uncomfortable watch but the expressionistic animation makes it always captivating.