Short Film Review: Headless Population

A reflection of the Contemporary Age, a headless population indeed…

Short Film Review: Headless Population

A tale about technology and how it defines our lives in the modern day. 

Headless Population is a short film by Catriona Carswell and Cut the Mustard Animation in collaboration with BBC Arts and Screen South. Premiered on the show New Creatives, BBC Four March 2020. 

The wistfulness and tranquillity of nature, captured in this film through the use of visuals and sound at the start of the animation is fascinating. But the picturesque scene painted before us is disrupted by a single ding of a notification. Subtly introducing the hustle and bustle of the modern day into the picture.

From there, the visuals become darker, structures like high rises creep into frame and dull industrial grey takes over. The natural sounds of nature and the serene stillness of inactivity, get drowned out by the clacking of steps, hum of vehicles and the thrum of chatter.

The use of colour and everyday sounds, paired with the audio track in the background, brings the production together and adds depth to the visuals of the film. This assists Carswell in conveying how our relationship with technology has affected our quality of life and awareness of the lives around us. Hence the title, Headless Population, is a fitting title for the film.

We are a population preoccupied by our mobile devices. We become scarily oblivious to our surroundings, disconnected from the people and world around us. The mindless way we scroll through our feeds and recommendations give us, as a collective, appearances akin to the popular portrayal of zombie-like behaviour.

We are also headless, because our heads are not with our bodies but in our electronic devices. Zeros and Ones. Pixels and Code. A population of the mindless.

For a world more connected than ever before it has never been so detached and disconnected from reality.

The message is subtle and what you pay attention to will differ from person to person. But the real question is,  Will you take on board what it is showing you?

Header Image Credit: Catriona Carswell

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