“A man gets off a boat. He walks into a restaurant and orders albatross soup. He takes one sip… pulls out a gun, and shoots himself to death. So…why did he kill himself?”
This is the question asked in Albatross Soup, a seven-minute animated short from writer/director Winnie Cheung. And there are a lot of questions asked in response. Fifty people were recorded asking a wide assortment of questions trying to figure out the answer. They range from what kind of boat he arrived in to where did he arrive from. And from his mental state to his marital status. An omnipotent sounding voice (Vit Horejs) answers the questions Yes or No.
All of this is accompanied by some incredible psychedelic and at times surreal hand-drawn animation. Albatross Soup does a great job of illustrating the questions and moving the story along. Cheung and her animation team have done a fantastic job of bringing the riddle to life.
I won’t spoil it, but yes Albatross Soup does provide the answer to the riddle. And it makes sense too. I’ve been told this is an old question, but I’d never heard it before so I had the added bonus of playing along and trying to solve it.
The film took three years to complete and has since screened at the Fantasia International Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, Sundance Film Festival, and Sundance Hong Kong. It was nominated for several awards during its festival run and will make its debut as a Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere on May 1st.
Surprisingly only the second animated film we’ve reviewed here, (the other being Have A Nice Day), Albatross Soup is a treat for animation fans. And at seven minutes long including credits, it’s enjoyable for those who don’t like feature-length animation as well. And it’s free so you really don’t have anything to lose by checking it out. You can also find out more about it and its creators on the film’s website. There’s also an interview with the director on Vimeo’s blog.