The Pixar short films are fantastic at showing and not telling. They’d usually be based around one scenario and would feature barely any dialogue, instead replacing it with facial expressions and movements to convey a characters’ emotions and actions to its audience. ‘Geri’s Game’ takes it one step further, by using editing to trick the audience into thinking the short features more characters than it actually does.
‘Geri’s Game’ premiered in 1997, and was theatrically shown before ‘A Bug’s Life’ a year later. It won an Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1998, as well as winning 8 more awards, including Best Short Film at the Florida Film Festival.
The 4-minute short film centres around an elderly man who is in the park playing Chess against an interesting opponent – himself.
This style of editing has been used before in films, usually to convey madness in a character, but is rarely used for comedic effect, and this decision was perfect for the type of scenario that was picked for the short. The short starts off by showing that the elderly man, Geri, is switching seats per Chess turn.
However, as the short goes on, it skips this action entirely, just showing Geri taking his turn each time. This also brings in a youthfulness to the character, as Geri ‘tricks’ himself at the end of the short, thus winning the game. And the ultimate prize for winning? His own false teeth!
‘Geri’s Game’ is a clever short film, that uses a simple scenario as its comedy sketch, and the centre for its humour. It also gives Geri a form of youth as he tries to find ways of tricking himself to win the game. The phrase ‘growing old is compulsory; growing up is optional’ is one of my favourite phrases, and this short is the definition of that phrase.
This is a very underrated short and, if you have 4-5 minutes to spare, I would highly recommend it.
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