It is curious how often those which showcase no indexical humanity would result in the most humane films. Where Am I? is a 2020 short film by Cheng Qiu, utilising the medium of animation, it portrays abstract ideas in a poetic form. The form of animation chosen is reminiscent of charcoal drawings. As an art form, charcoal is both basic and sincere. It follows that this description is equally apt for Qiu's film. However, the form of animation does evolve as the film continues, becoming significantly more detailed and it creates an effect truly difficult to describe. I feel that even attempting to do so would be counterintuitive to the film's aspirations in and of itself, as its poetic nature means it is intended to be experienced.
Due to the film's poetic format, lack of plot and alternative narrative, the film stands out from the others being screened at the SHIFT Film Festival. Unfortunately, this leads me to think that the film might not be as fit for the cinema screen as other more 'standard films'. It is important to note that this is by no means a negative statement. As it stands, the film also left a great impression on me after watching. Even after the festival I found myself still pondering the film's depicted ideals. I feel incompatibility with the cinema is systemic to the film's genre. Furthermore, instead, I see the film more suited to the gallery space. I can clearly imagine the closed room inside of an art museum, showcasing this film on loop, as viewers chime in at undetermined points and watch for an undisclosed amount of time.