- Country: United States / Greece
- Initial release: November 29, 2014
- Film Director: Athanassios Vakalis
- Running Time: 10 Minutes
- IMDB Grade: 7.8
In 2014, Athanassios Vakalis, an Emmy award-winning animation artist, directed an impactful and thought-provoking short film titled “Dinner for Few.” This ten-minute CG-animated film serves as a sociopolitical allegory, shedding light on the economic crisis that affected several South European countries, including Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Vakalis, drawing from his own experiences and concerns, presents a powerful narrative that delves into the issues of greed, self-indulgence, and the unequal distribution of resources within our society.
A Harsh Lens on Self-Indulgence
“Dinner for Few” takes place during a grand dinner hosted by gluttonous characters who voraciously consume everything in their surroundings. Through the use of nontraditional CG aesthetics, featuring flat graphics and dark outlines instead of 3-dimensional realism, Vakalis creates a visual style that perfectly complements the harsh lens through which the story of self-indulgence is portrayed. The film presents a stark depiction of a system that solely feeds the select few, leaving the rest to survive on meager scraps from the table.
The Allegorical Message
At its core, “Dinner for Few” is an allegory for how our societal systems appear to function smoothly, but in reality, they only benefit a privileged few who recklessly consume all available resources. As Vakalis explains, this system eventually leads to catastrophic changes when the supply is depleted. The film serves as a grim reminder that the offspring of such transitions often mirror the actions of their predecessors, perpetuating a cycle of greed throughout history.
An Aesthetic Choice
The unique aesthetic of “Dinner for Few” enhances the bleak themes of the story, reminiscent of old, hand-drawn animation styles juxtaposed with today’s photo-realistic renderings. Vakalis, known for his impressive character animation credits in films like “Kung Fu Panda” and “Thumbelina,” chose a flat two-dimensional, graphic aesthetic that effectively adds depth to the dystopian landscape depicted in the film. The character animation, with its morphing elements, creates an original visual language that captivates and disturbs viewers.
Music and Atmosphere
Complementing the visuals, the original music composed by Kostas Christides and performed by the Bratislava Symphonic Orchestra adds another layer of atmosphere to “Dinner for Few.” The haunting score enhances the director’s feelings of crisis and elevates the emotional impact of the film. The combination of atmospheric elements and Vakalis’ attention to detail creates a fully immersive experience for the audience.
Vakalis’ Personal Project
“Dinner for Few” holds a special place in Vakalis’ career as it is his second personal project, showcasing his creative autonomy as a director, producer, writer, and cinematographer. This short film, entirely funded by Vakalis and his wife Katerina, serves as a testament to their passion and commitment to bringing important stories to life. The success and recognition “Dinner for Few” has received speak to the film’s powerful message and the talent behind its creation.
Since its release, “Dinner for Few” has screened at over 250 film festivals worldwide and has garnered an impressive 78 awards. The film’s ability to resonate with audiences and provoke meaningful discussions about societal issues has been widely recognized. Its allegorical nature and the universal themes it explores make “Dinner for Few” a significant contribution to the world of animated filmmaking.
In conclusion, “Dinner for Few” stands as a testament to the power of animation as a medium for social commentary. Athanassios Vakalis’ allegorical portrayal of our society’s greed and the unequal distribution of resources offers a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition. Through its unique visual style and haunting music, the film captivates viewers and prompts them to reflect on the cyclical nature of human affairs throughout history. “Dinner for Few” is a powerful reminder of the need for collective responsibility and the consequences of unchecked self-indulgence.