Earlier in the month, Disney released a second volume of its animated anthology series, Star Wars Visions. Where Volume One focused on the sci-fi franchise through the lens of various Japanese studios, this new batch looked to ones all over the globe, and is all the better for it. Nearly all of the episodes are nothing short of bangers, with the best of the bunch arguably being Sith from Spanish studio El Guiri.
The 14-minute short opens the new season, and is currently part of a Spanish animation showcase at the Cannes film festival. Speaking to Variety, its writer/director Rodrigo Blaas talked about how Sith’s striking art style came to be. For its protagonist Lola (Úrsula Corberó), painting is a key part of her journey, and is how the short visualizes the Force that characters like the Jedi and Sith can use. Early on, she uses her power to form bubbles that morph into different colors, and when those bubbles explode explode, the resulting mix is dotted along the (mostly white) walls of her living room. It’s a happy accident, and that phrase perfectly encapsulates the short’s visuals.
Ask anyone creative, and they’ll tell you that screwing up is natural. You can’t make something beautiful without making it ugly first, and it’s a sentiment shared by Blaas. He found that painting often involves “making mistakes and spilling a color and actually using that spill to break up and create something else.” (Something you can see mainly in the interior of Lola’s ship, which has spaces that aren’t painted over yet or look as though the paint’s faded away over time.) And in embracing those mistakes, El Guiri was able to “scratch the frame and use this mixed media where it’s not all 3D in the same 3D environment.”
Sith feels heavily influenced by abstract artists, and while Blaas admitted as such, he also credited just how artistically simple the iconic imagery Star Wars’ is. Growing up, drawing something like Star Destroyers “can just be big triangles next to big circular planets. They just become these circles of color.” He found further inspiration from his daughter and the “visual heritage” of his childhood. Though it was important to be respectful of his own culture, he also saw this as an opportunity to “bring a different vision and something new.”
Prior to co-founding El Guiri, Blaas worked at studios like Blue Sky and Pixar. For him, leaning into those mistakes ran counter to his earlier work, but one that was necessary to make Sith its best self. He admitted it was an active decision he made, to see if it “lends some artistic value and a different point of view.” He mentioned wanting to make something that could “break the mold” in a way similar to what fellow Pixar alum Brad Bird did during his time at the studio, and it looks like Sith has done exactly that.
You can watch Sith and the other shorts that make up Star Wars: Visions’ second season over on Disney+.
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