“X-Story” Embraces Futuristic Treasure Hunts and Power in this Animated Short

One man’s search for treasure leads him down a slippery slope when the possession of an enigmatic treasure comes into play in Vitaliy Shushko’s X-Story.

Perhaps one of the most sought after and ill advised possessions is that of power, and its ability to control and conquer others. While its actions have severe and dire consequences, its usefulness and understanding direct a notion of strength and righteousness. Vitaliy Shushko explores the tangible and obtainable sanctity of this so called “treasure,” and at what cost it is worth having in his animated short film. Developed over the course of two long years, X-Story follows one man’s journey to “X,” marking an inviolable and mysterious treasure. It tells the tale of the unknown, and the obstacles we are willing to battle to get it, even if that means losing both functioning human arms.

Vitaliy Shushko triumphs in his first short movie, being hand selected as part of Vimeo’s staff pick for this past month. The fourteen minute film follows a young bionic man on his journey as he acquires a map leading to a greatly protected and stealthy treasure. Over the course of his adventures, he must fight for not only himself, but for the purity of his sanity and the strength to continue on. But at what cost is he willing to continue, and when is too much enough? It seems that whatever is thrown in front of the character, he is able to contest its nature and push through. At times, however, he ironically battles the very thing he is fighting for, and I think that is the beauty of this short.

The filmmaker does a great job at protecting the true nature of each character, as they develop and unwrap throughout the film. It isn’t until the very end that the audience is thrown for a loop in the true intentions of the man, shattering preconceived notions we hold individuals to without knowing the meaning behind their actions. Because we are consequently used to a certain point of view, it logically draws our concern. The reversal of perception and conception of involvement evoke the true nature of exploration.

While the storyline of the film explores various thematic materials, I would argue that some of its best features include the lack of dialogue, and the ways in which the animation and soundtrack compliment each other. At times, the film feels like it is an animated comic book, focusing on facial expressions and voluntary actions. Not many movies interact with audiences in ways that do not include speaking. Besides the classically drawn silent films, in recent memory, Drive is the only big success that has truly captivated an audience without saying too much…literally. Sometimes it’s better to visually show the struggle and feats than trying to verbally explain it aloud. This also plays into the role of power and its control over people, forcing the viewer to draw eyes onto the screen.

While its animation may seem fragmented at times, Vitaliy Shushko’s X-Story captivates and interacts with its audience unlike many short films. This first from filmmaker Shushko is sure to entice viewers alike.

Thomas DeVito

Thomas, who studied English at SUNY Oswego, is an aspiring screenwriter and a Contributing Writer for Monologue Blogger. When not typing away at his computer, he can be found watching the latest films, or reading the newest bestseller. Unfortunately, he is unrelated to Danny DeVito.

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