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Animation / Waves '98

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Waves '98 is a 2015 animated short film (15 minutes) from Lebanon by Eli Dagher.

A boy named Omar in his late teens is living in Beirut in 1998. He seems intensely bored with his uneventful existence of going to high school and then coming back home to the apartment he shares with a father and an older brother. He's given to sitting on the roof of the apartment building and staring out over the Beirut cityscape, looking at nothing. Most of the little dialogue in the short is Omar muttering the words "I'm tired of hearing the same story over and over again" and "It feels like everything is stuck."

One day Omar sees a strange glowing light across town. He rides across the city on his moped, only to discover...a gigantic golden elephant. "Gigantic" as in gigantic, an elephant that is taller than most of the buildings in the city. Omar enters the enormous golden elephant along with two other young men and an attractive young woman named Noura. He then goes on a strange, mystical flight.

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There's also a floating head, of a man who looks to be in his forties.


Tropes:

  • Flashback: In one scene Omar closes his eyes, and superimposed over his animated face is a live-action shot of a boy swinging in a swing, presumably a childhood memory of Omar's.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Eventually Omar receives a phone call, and then a direct communication from the floating head of the middle aged man, who says "It feels like everything is stuck." It is implied that the face of the older man is Omar in the future. Young Omar is quite horrified to face the head.
  • Gainax Ending: The golden elephant starts to crack and shatter. Omar dives out of the helmet into the ocean. He sees what appears to be his own face from a good 20 years in the future, trying to communicate with him. He appears to go through some sort of star gate like in 2001. There's an extreme closeup of a fly. Then Omar is back in the elephant, floating over the city. The End.
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  • Medium Blending: Omar is animated as are all the other characters, as is the golden elephant. However there are also several live action shots mixed in, including several television news broadcasts, live action shots of the ocean, and live action shots of Beirut city traffic. One live action shot of Beirut traffic suddenly freezes, only to show Omar on his moped zipping down the road.
  • Mind Screw: Yes, that is a giant golden elephant, which sucks up young Omar along with three other young people and takes them on a strange mystical ride through time and space.
  • Staggered Zoom: The last shot is a staggered zoom out away from the giant golden elephant, hovering in the air over Beirut.
  • Stock Footage: Several clips of Lebanese news broadcasts.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: First Omar and his friends are simply looking at the stars as they relax on the beach. Then they are looking at the sun in total eclipse.
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