Don’t let the provocative title fool you – Russian animator Leonid Shmelkov’s Very Lonely Cock is a charming animated short which, while utterly bizarre, is also completely safe for work. We think.

With its crackling Soviet-inspired soundtrack and frames of scratched and damaged ‘film’, Very Lonely Cock looks like the adventures of Eastern Europe’s favourite cat and mouse team Worker and Parasite, filtered through the surrealist, slapstick comedy of Cartoon Network shows like Adventure Time or The Amazing World of Gumball.  

We open on a member of the poultry proletariat, dutifully laying eggs (though considering he’s a cock exactly how he does this is unclear) until he discovers that his employer has fallen asleep at his post. But before he and his fellow chickens can incite revolution, the Very Lonely Cock is sidetracked by the fact that the light switch hanging in the air next to him has the power to alter the very fabric of reality. So he dicks around with it. As you would.

As the world changes from ‘Incredibly Depressing Children’s Book’ to ‘Acid Trip Gone Horribly Wrong’, Shmelkov’s simple ligne-clair art style and some impressive sound design make every surreal moment pop. The Cock makes no sound apart from a few confused clucks, but in the great tradition of silent protagonists his reactions speak volumes.

There’s an old joke in The Simpsons where Moe the bartender describes postmodernism as stuff that’s “weird for the sake of weird”, which is an apt description of Very Lonely Cock. It would take someone smarter than us to figure out the significance of the little cymbal-playing man in the Phygian cap, for example. But we at ORWAV have a soft spot for great animators, and love to see them do well. Here’s hoping that more people in the near future notice Shmelkov’s obvious talent.

Do you have a short film you’d like to be considered for our Short of the Week feature? Get in touch with us at features@oneroomwithaview.com


INFORMATION

DIRECTOR: Leonid Shmelkov

WRITER: Leonid Shmelkov

PRODUCER: Nikolay Makovskiy

SYNOPSIS: It is a hard day for the Very Lonely Cock. Perhaps tomorrow it’ll be better. Who knows? Anyway, it can’t get any worse. Or can it? Not only is the production of eggs at stake for the Very Lonely Cock, in this strange world everything is getting stranger by the minute.