Parisian artist, producer and director Sandór Waïss has recently released his latest single, Memories, which explores the relationship between the past, present and future with the help of a stunning hand-animated music video.
Taken from his upcoming debut album project Broken Blue, Memories explores themes of family, love and sustainability. Written and directed by Sandór Waïss and Juan Pablo Machado, the video is inspired by Japanese manga animation, specifically the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.
Memories is the third and final single to be released from Sandór's album project. It follows on from The Eyes and Kill You, both of which seek to break away from familiar contemporary iconography and expectations in terms of sound and visuals. "Broken Blue is a musical and cinematographic journey, with a musical intensity that switches between the tragic and the sublime," Sandór explains.
Nowhere is this switch from the tragic to the sublime more apparent than in Memories. The uplifting yet melancholic music video sees a mother and son sailing through the sunken remains of a town while reflections of the past and expectations of the future shimmer in the water beneath them.
The video takes on an added layer of poignancy when Sandór reveals that the village in the video is based on the village he grew up in real life. "When I was a child, a huge flood happened, and it deeply struck me," he says. "Since then, global warming and rising sea levels have always been in the back of my mind. And growing up, I often wondered: will my village be underwater permanently at some point?"
In his first idea for the music video, it was this fear of the sunken village that Sandór wanted to explore. The topic of rising sea levels acted as a natural way to work in themes of climate change, as well as the concept of memories themselves. "The drowned world is the world of the past where memories lay," he adds. "While navigating the stream of time, the characters find objects from the past that revive bygone moments."
Having the characters spanning different generations was very important for Sandór. The mother character is familiar with the world as we know it thanks to her memories, while the son only knows the underwater village and dreams of the future that awaits him. "I feel like it is an interesting way to explore how memories are kept and passed on, but also how they are created in the present," Sandór explains. "How the past and the present constantly interact in our lives."
To turn this concept into a reality, Sandór presented Juan with the script and a rough storyboard; then, they started working on it immediately. Ideas and graphic research were exchanged every week or so, and Sandór would send him precise reference pictures of his village to speed up the process. "Everything was hand-animated by Juan and his team in four months, which is actually pretty quick for an almost four-minute-long animated video."
The quick turnaround has done nothing to diminish the quality of the video, though, as the beautiful 2D hand animation creates a soothing and touching story which serves as a timely reminder of the many beautiful moments that life contains and has in store for us all.
"I feel like memories are miracles," says Sandór. "The way we manage to protect moments and feelings from oblivion, tiny bits of the past that we pass on to our loved ones and relatives, from generation to generation. It really is magical to me. The beauty of all of us being a small link in a long chain."
And for an animation that also touches on climate change, Memories is unique in that it is not too bleak or apocalyptic. "I feel like it is a very anxiety-inducing topic, which in turn makes many of us want to ignore or deny it," Sandór concludes. "I hope that by showing what could await us without being dramatic, we can help raise awareness of the subject and the necessity to address the limits of our current way of life."