Birthday Boy/ dir. Sejong Park/ 2004/ Korea
Birthday Boy takes place in 1951 during the Korean War. It follows a young boy named Manuk (not Manok… if you don’t know ask a Filipino), as he plays war games while living, ironically, in a war torn village. He longs to be a soldier, and on his birthday he receives a special present.
Birthday Boy, while only minutes long, is a compelling film, and one that really makes you think about the effects of war. Everything in this short just comes together beautifully. Sejong’s animation, especially on Manuk’s facial expression and poses, is awesome. The sound design which is gentle and subtle, match perfectly with the mood and setting of this short. Sejong Park does a masterful job of showing the innocence of Manuk while at the same time showing the devastation and ravages of war. You can’t help but feel some sorrow as Manuk, totally oblivious of the war-torn world around him, plays war games and longs to be part of the same world that has caused all the havoc that is around him.
See this Oscar nominated short here:
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