Bendito Machine IV is the fourth instalment of an animated series of short films called Bendito Machine. The show is about a primitive, clumsy species that rely heavily on machinery and are led by a greedy hierarchy who believe that they have a wealth of knowledge unfathomable to the average mind. In reality, they’re a bunch of tossers with too much power.
What I love about the 10 minute film is that the audience instantly has a reason to be interested in the message. Everyone knows someone with too much power and crippling ‘little man’ syndrome, and in this film the ‘little man’ wears a little oil rig as a crown and makes our main character kiss his ring as a greeting. The main character is somewhat faceless, but we can tell that he grows disillusioned with the world around him. As people gasp at the sight of plastic bottles haemorrhaging into the ocean, he does not flinch, does not blink, does not look. He’s seen this all before.
The animation is a side-scroll that is shade dominated, the silhouettes of these people contrasting well with any colour such as the background sky or the ocean. There is no dialogue either, the story is driven by visuals and backgrounds sounds such as rollercoasters and rockets taking off.
I could argue that the film is a scathing criticism of the world we currently live in. This world needs fossil fuels to help our rockets fly and to help our rollercoasters roll, but when it spills out into the ocean and kills an overworked sea-horse no-one gives a damn. Oil and plastic are everywhere, and all anyone with power does is crack the whip as if to say “I wanna go fast”. Then what do we do when we run out of resources and the machine is about to break? Go and invade another territory, obviously. It seems to be human nature.
From the moment our character stepped onto the rollercoaster I was reminded of Bill Hicks’ famous “It’s just a ride” monologue. I can’t say whether Bendito Machine IV is a direct nod, but there are moments where I felt that the film does echo some of Bill’s statements. We have one world, and we need to take better care of it and each other.