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287 Ratings

In Absentia

Directed by Stephen Quay, Timothy Quay
United Kingdom, 2000
Animation, Short


A woman alone in a room repeatedly writes a letter with tiny broken off pieces of pencil lead. Outside her window, vistas of ever-changing light register her every emotion.

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In Absentia Directed by Stephen Quay, Timothy Quay
Most impressive of all is the most recent film on offer, In Absentia… if the pace of the film is manic, its tone is elegiac. The repeated shots of the woman’s swollen fingers curled around her pencil, both hands used to keep the point steady but also providing such force that the graphite keeps snapping, is so simple in its tragedy.
August 01, 2016
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The demon may be reading over [the woman’s] shoulder or may not care at all. But by being in color the creature seems hyperreal, more even than the human actor. It is like Descartes’ evil demon, the source of madness, rendered with tactile care.
July 26, 2016
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It begins with a static shot of what looks like space stations, with flickers of light igniting the sky above. Is it a chemical plant? A mission to Mars gone awry? Extreme close ups of the woman follow in an abrupt, discomfiting succession, as we also see the inner workings of her mind spiraling out of control. An eery musical accompaniment by orchestral electronic pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen appropriately accompanies the piece.
August 18, 2015
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