New York City, Jan 26 – Well Wishes My Love, Your Love is a mesmerizing experience with a carefully crafted animated style that will take you into another world. Gabriel Gabriel Garble’s animated short film premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in the Animation Short Film Program. An accomplished illustrator outside of being an animation director, Garble’s experimental film is breaking the barriers of animation as a whole and how we as an audience can experience a film.
Newly orphaned and freshly wounded from a loss, a boy lends his companion a prosthetic arm for the day. The companion records the limb being exposed to textures and materials, surprising his friend with the recorded journey. Through experimental 2D and 3D techniques, Garble builds a dreamy and contemplative universe. This silent film can feel all-encompassing through its ambient sound which captures both natural sounds and a hypnotic hymn that pulls the audience into a slow meditation. This means that as we journey through the boy and his friend’s prosthetic arm, we’re thrown directly into Garble’s unique world and travel from the perspective of both the boy and the prosthetic arm. We watch a sunset that feels so abstract yet so real. We pet the silhouette of a three-legged horse, who, through the carefully composed music and animation, truly breathes right next to us. It can be hard to pull away from the screen as we’re pulled into colorful hypnosis.
There is something so amazingly alive about Garble’s film. This can feel surprising because the animation is abstract, constructed of sharp lines with psychedelic colors that flow beautifully into each other. It shouldn’t feel so realistic, yet each moment presents like a naturalistic painting. The colors and forms are perfectly composed. Yet the life in the film comes from the fact that every movement is a literal ripple through the frame every time something moves along the frame, like water when the boy travels through the landscape. This unique sense of life might be the soul of Well Wishes My Love, Your Love because it is clear that, in this world, everything is connected, whole, and very alive. The boy forms a part of the sky, which ripples into the ocean, which ultimately connects back to the prosthetic arm and the boy. What does this ultimately mean when it comes to the nature of the prosthetic arm and its owner?
The symbiotic relationship between everything gives us the heart of the story. Just as the grass, water, and the boy are alive, so is the prosthetic arm. Everything is so incredibly connected; it can be difficult to conceive this prosthetic as something separate or not as alive as the rest of the world. We feel and move across the world with the prosthetic, and as the prosthetic arm, as naturally as we would with any other limb. When the owner of the prosthetic arm slips it on, it feels natural and alive in its own way. This hints at how vital and integral prosthetic limbs can be to their owners in everyday life. They can exist as naturally as any other limb and help their owners move and experience the world around them. Garble creates a world where everything is one whole and where nothing is “other.” This in itself feels touching in the sense that people with prosthetic limbs risk feeling “othered” in their community. However, as the film depicts, their disability aids belong to the world around them just like anything else does.
One of the most heartwarming moments within the film is when the boy returns the arm along with the recording. The owner of the arm tears up at watching the recording of his arm experiencing the world. This moment feels beautiful and refreshing because the tears don’t come from tragedy or specifically from loss, which can be common in narratives surrounding amputated limbs. Instead, the owner’s tears come from an appreciation for the boy who accepts him as he is and from the fact that the owner of the limb also accepts his new limb.
Well Wishes My Love, Your Love is one of the most unique animated films to premiere this year. It will take its audience through a kaleidoscopic journey that is both enchanting and moving.