- Country: Japan
- Initial release: June 30, 2011 (Japan)
- Film Director: Takuya Okada
- Running Time: 4 Minutes
- IMDB Grade: 6.3
In 2011, a thought-provoking and visually stunning 3D CG animation titled CHILDREN, directed by Takuya Okada, took the world by storm. This short film delves into the dark underbelly of a conformist society, exploring the detrimental effects of the public school system on the individuality and freedom of children. With its profound symbolism and captivating storytelling, CHILDREN has become a favorite among viewers seeking a deeper understanding of societal norms and the importance of self-expression.
In this article, we will embark on a journey to uncover the hidden layers of meaning in Okada’s masterpiece. From the choice of music to the symbolism of the characters, we will unravel the intricate web of ideas that make CHILDREN a powerful commentary on the human condition. So, grab your popcorn and prepare to delve into the depths of this remarkable animation.
The Power of Music: Chopin’s Funeral March
One of the first elements that strikes viewers when watching CHILDREN is the choice of music. Okada masterfully utilizes Chopin’s Funeral March, a composition known for its somber and mournful tone. The music sets the stage for the themes explored in the film, including the idea of death and the monotonous nature of everyday life. Through the repetitive and unchanging nature of the music, Okada emphasizes the cyclical nature of conformity and the lack of individuality within the society depicted in CHILDREN.
The Masked Faces: Symbolism of Conformity
In CHILDREN, the characters, both children and teachers, wear masks, representing the suppression of individuality and the pressure to conform. Each child is virtually identical, distinguished only by a number branded on their forehead. This visual metaphor highlights the dehumanizing nature of a society that values conformity over individuality. The teachers, too, wear masks, perpetuating the facade of happiness and contentment while concealing their own emotions. This symbolism emphasizes how the education system and those in positions of authority prioritize maintaining the status quo rather than nurturing the unique qualities of each individual.
Breaking Free: The Rebellion of 4483
Within the sea of conformity, one character stands out: 4483. This individual dares to break free from the shackles of sameness and embraces his own identity. Through the act of breaking his zipper, 4483 becomes a catalyst for change, inspiring other children to follow suit. This rebellion, however, is not one of true individuality but rather a collective response to the actions of one. Even in their rebellion, the children remain bound to the group, highlighting the difficulty of truly breaking free from societal expectations.
The Illusion of Freedom: The Tragic Fate of 4483
While 4483 initially appears to embody freedom, his liberation is short-lived. In a tragic turn of events, 4483 is killed while exercising his newfound freedom. This outcome suggests a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked liberty. Okada seems to convey the importance of striking a balance between freedom and control, illustrating that absolute freedom can have dire consequences. Through 4483’s fate, the audience is prompted to reflect on the delicate equilibrium between personal freedom and societal order.
The Symbolic Dog: Hope and Inspiration
Throughout CHILDREN, a dog serves as a symbol of hope and individual dreams. 4483 watches the dog, seeing in it his own aspirations for freedom. The repeated death of the dog represents the constant suppression of these hopes and dreams within a conformist society. However, the dog’s survival at the end of the film offers a glimmer of hope. It suggests that even in a society that stifles individuality, there is the potential for ideals to persist and inspire others to break free from the chains of conformity.