[Short Film Review] The Flying Fish (2019) by Bede Jermyn

I don’t know about anyone else, but do you know what type of short films that I personally admire the most? It’s the ones that attempt to showcase something that’s both unique and ambitious regardless of their short running time. There has been both quite a number of live-action and animated short films that have done this over the pass few years, which are the ones that are always considered to be very memorable by many film viewers. The most recent example of this is director Murat Sayginer’s THE FLYING FISH, a 21 minute long animated short film that follows a Flying Fish at the beginning of its birth and how its journey onward from there becomes the catalyst for a transition into an new era.

One thing I should state about THE FLYING FISH is that isn’t a type of short film that’s driven by either plot nor character (hence why the synopsis I wrote about it is very brief). Instead this is more an experimental short animated film that uses both music and visual imagery to convey the themes/ideas that it wants to explore. While some short films that have taken this approach can sometimes end up being a mixed-bag, director Murat Sayginer (who also wrote, produced and co-wrote the score along with Jochen Mader & Onur Tarcin) was able to overcome that hurdle to create something truly one-of-kind with THE FLYING FISH. Over the course of its 21 minute run-time, Sayginger uses a Flying Fly as metaphor to explore our world from the beginning of history through into our future with the help CG animation. As you would expect, it’s quite a lot of ambitious ground to cover for a 21 minute long short film. Luckily Sayginger was able tackle it in such a really interesting and compelling way.

What struck me the most about THE FLYING FISH is, without a doubt, its visually striking CG animation style. From beginning to end I was completely transfixed to how stunning this entire film looks (some of which looked almost photo-realistic in how that they were achieved). There are so many unique and amazing visuals throughout the film that are definitely are meant to be symbolic of everything that we as human beings have experienced in our world (love, death, history, religion, war, technology, capitalism, bigotry, science, nature, sexuality etc.). While most filmmakers would delve into some of these subjects in a rather heavy-handed way by spelling it out through dialogue, Murat Sayginer lets us as an audience interpret what the images themselves are trying to say instead. Plus the original synth score that plays throughout THE FLYING FISH really does add a lot to everything that we are seeing onscreen. The combination of both the great animation and music definitely made it quite an hypnotic watch that’s for sure.

Overall while I can definitely see some people saying that the film feels like some kind of extended experimental music video than an actual film, but there’s a lot more to THE FLYING FISH that makes it far more intriguing and thought-provoking as a whole. In fact I would say that this film was meant to more about the visually emotional experience than it is a traditionally narrative/character driven one. Sure it might not be for everyone due to its experimental nature but if you just sit back and let it wash over you, I think that you’ll find it a really fascinating and absorbing animated short film.


Review written by Bede Jermyn


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