Moments in Paradise

Directed by BelloPropello  |  Review by Helen Wheels

Moments in Paradise is a one-minute animation sequence from Switzerland, that is a meditation on the beauty of our natural world and how quickly it can be destroyed. The short film is exquisitely animated with colorful green alienlike forms that appear to be trees, which sprout from the ground and continue to grow with jewellike leaves and embellishments. With blue skies overhead, it looks like the artist’s rendition of paradise. Until the fluffy white clouds begin to darken. The clouds become increasingly blacker when sadly, a giant lightning bolt destroys the mother tree.

The main tree may represent the tree of life from legend. Tree of life symbolism spans across many races and religions with slightly different meanings in each, but with an overarching metaphor that shows us the connectedness of all things. These trees may also represent a metaphorical journey. In BelloPropello’s animated film “Moments in Paradise” the journey is from the innocence of birth and beauty to ashes. Such is the cycle of life. However, we are left to make our own assumptions about what it all means.

Without any narrative to assist in telling the story, the filmmaker instead utilizes music from sounddogs.com and sound effects by ambientmixer.com to create a backdrop for the drama which grows before our eyes. The music starts out much like the visuals, meditative, and we feel as if there’s something spiritual about the animation. As the animation gains intensity, so does the music. They sync perfectly to insight the feeling of disaster and loss — and the feeling of emptiness that remains. Your mind struggles with the reality — is that all there is — it’s over — the end? The fiery finish of the short animation leaves us wanting more as if there should be a follow-up to the tree’s destruction. An apology, maybe?

In the end, BelloPropello’s “Moments in Paradise” leaves us feeling as if there is something that we could have done to prevent this tragedy. We want to save the mother tree, and though there is no mention of any human’s hand in its destruction, we still feel that somehow people were to blame. Perhaps the darkening of the clouds represents the ever-growing threat of humankind upon nature. Alternatively, we could be sensing that we are indeed helpless against the fury of mother nature and it’s only our ego that makes us believe otherwise. One thing is for certain, BelloPropello’s one-minute animation “Moments in Paradise” leaves us wanting more.

“Moments in Paradise” took home the award for Best One-Minute Film from the Cult Critic’s Movie awards. To date the filmmaker has four animations to their credit on IMDB and “Moments in Paradise” was the first, produced in 2015. With animation titles such as Dystopia (2018), and Cupid Is Not A Terrorist (2017), I think we’re safe in assuming that BelloPropello is committed to producing animations that are more than mere entertainment. They are stories that look deeply into the psyche of the human condition and animate the images for us to examine.

Helen Wheels is an independent filmmaker, freelance writer, and visual artist. She has produced, directed, worked as a set designer and scenic painter, and has been an assistant director on dozens of films. Wheels graduated from Shoreline College with an AAAS in Digital Film Production and is continuing toward her MFA in New Media Communications.  Known for her eye to detail and advanced research skills, Wheels is currently researching historical events for her latest script and is in the process of developing her online writing business.