Please imagine the following assortment of old devices, all placed into an unlabeled cardboard box: a mechanical clock, an elongated flashlight, a calculator, a voice recorder and player, a video camera and a handheld gaming console. Now take a look at your desk – chances are that you will find a smartphone there, one which can do the jobs of all previously mentioned items, and more. Most likely faster and more efficiently, too. Technological progress occurs so rapidly nowadays, that it’s part of our daily lives to replace redundant items with newer, better ones. But what about the sentimental value of such objects, which accompany us for significant periods of our lives?
'Flipped Out' is a 5-minute short film that employs a hand drawn style to maximum effect. The visual style is cute when it needs to be so, and even scary when the needs arise – and this flexibility is mostly due to the great use of colors and music that the project showcases. It is a finely-crafted gem, and each scene is milked dry of its potential. Furthermore, the amount of symbolism which is fitted in such a limited runtime is nothing short of remarkable.
The short film tells the story of an old phone that is happy to have been in the services of an old lady for many years. However, she grows increasingly frustrated with the lacking quality of pictures that she takes with the phone. These are, for her, prized memories of her time with her loved ones, and the pixelated nature of these souvenirs eventually determine her to buy a replacement – a shiny new smartphone. The old phone is thrown into a dark drawer, while its replacement is lovingly placed on the table in its place. Deeply saddened and jealous, the old phone plots a revenge plan and attempts to eliminate the newfound competition.
'Flipped Out' is a beautiful film that speaks volumes about change – not only in terms of electronics. The film’s enjoyability factor is mediated by the degree of sentimentality that the audience tends to apply to material possessions – but the overall message is considerably more far-reaching. It can be applied to human beings, too. For instance, when one employee gets exchanged for another, the first reaction is likely to be an emotional outburst and a wish for revenge – taking the entire decision at a personal level. However, an investigation into the causes that have led to this (naturally, in case of an objective decision) can reveal the true nature of the change, and justify it.
Despite having a clear conclusion of its plot, 'Flipped Out' still leaves plenty of leeway for divergent interpretations. In the context of technological development, change is good, for utilitarian reasons and not accounting for emotional values – a balanced approach would probably work best. And for humans, who have the ability to learn from mistakes and improve, as a result, temporary failure can be a blessing and can facilitate the process of addressing the root causes of the problem. All in all, we loved 'Flipped Out and highly recommend it as an excellent project that everyone should see.