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TYMNHS: The Physics of Sorrow (2019)

“There is only childhood and death. Between the two, there is nothing.”

For this edition of TYMNHS, I will talk about the animated film The Physics of Sorrow by Theodore Ushev. The film is based on a book of the same name by author Georgi Gospodinov.

The Physics of Sorrow is an half hour animation showing us the life story of one man. It is a saga of his childhood reveries and adult regrets.

It is the first-ever fully animated film using encaustic painting. What is an encaustic style? It looks like a moving Edvard Munch painting. Once you see it, it becomes easily recognizable. It is smudged pastels whose edges are blurred, animated with wisps of dreams.

What is Sorrow in the film? It is a time capsule. It is nostalgia wrapped in regrets. The protagonist carries a briefcase with him with small life mementos. A gum wrapper. A dinosaur given by his daughter. Tin soldiers. Toy cars. We see him playing toy soldiers to becoming a soldier himself. He goes through a strict childhood, to enrolling in the army, to post-war PTSD, a marriage then a divorce.

The Physics of Sorrow is a poignant story. It is a moody and deep portrayal. Grief and sorrow are a constant companion. They are more familiar than happiness.

I want to read the book the film was based on. There are beautiful lines weaving through the film that touch a chord.

“Sometimes the end of the world is a purely personal matter.”

“How are you? How’s it going? How am I? I am not. Period.”

The protagonist regarding his briefcase and the end of the world: “To be opened after the end of the world. There must be something that remains though. Something He could use to start over. The day after the apocalypse, there will be no news, newspapers. How ironic? The most significant event in the whole history of humanity will get no media attention. Nobody will post on their Facebook page ‘The world has ended’.”

I hope that you liked today’s blog post. Thank you for dropping by!


Published by Aisha Urooj

I live in Toronto, Ontario. I love living in my multicultural city. My hobbies include writing, reading, painting and photography. I adore classic books and hope to someday emulate the books that I love and cherish. I have a newsletter you can join at Hope to see you there! 😊

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