Sprout (2023) Short Film Review
Zora Kovács7-minute animated short film Drive one of the strangest works of art ever to emerge from the creative mind that resulted from a worldwide pandemic. The strange subject it deals with is not really seen as strange. It is just a variation of the subjective perception of how we see and interact with our environment, taking into account the inevitability. Whatever you get with the bizarre resolution will do. Drive it’s a movie that’s about everyone, but it’s not for everyone, and that’s okay.
The story is simple: a scientist suffers from agoraphobia (which means he only feels safe when locked in his house). Are Girl Scouts selling cookies? He sprays them with a device that emits an unpleasant smell. He wants no contact with the outside world, and even letters come to him through robotic arms that almost filter out any dust that might contaminate his lab.
But even the best scientists are subject to accidents. An unexpected mix creates a baby plant. But it grows and grows and soon becomes out of control. It also knows where it is and who created it. It doesn’t take long for the plant to discover the outside world.
What follows Drive a beautiful fairy tale about how we interact with the world and how technology can provide us with an escape. Kovac’s idea can only be realized through a zero-dialogue animated film that barely touches on the idea of isolation while exploring a fantasy-like resolution that won’t work for everyone. Of course, that’s enough for him, a scientist trapped in a fetus-like position inside a huge plant. It is not easy to see how this relates to the ending.
Drive it’s not a movie for everyone, and maybe some people won’t connect with the protagonist’s approach to observing the outside world. However, isolation and mental health are different from any standard. Interpretations are always welcome, as are solutions to questions that only seem possible in fantasy. For agoraphobics, their lives are confined to a cell, however comfortable it may be. It’s still a prison for them. It can feel simplistic and overly optimistic when you see how the world and environment can help you overcome this. But it’s interesting enough to make you think about solving problems experienced by isolated people.
It’s a quirky short film that starts conversations. That’s sometimes good enough for filmmakers with different goals than average storytellers who would surely have taken a different approach. In some cases, we should celebrate the original and consider it.