Robert Grieves’ animated short, is full of charm, character and wit. Offering an allegory on the perils of mass production, the film focuses on a previously peaceful, distinctly continental-feeling market square, where small businesses are quickly monopolized by new competition. What begins as a pleasant ambiance, with customers buying what they need from an artisan baker and a butcher, is soon overtaken by unprecedented greed from a new third party.
Sausage focuses on the tipping point at which healthy competition becomes unfair and uneven, and the film has the feel of a real labour of love. With great attention to detail, such as with the rich art direction and silent, yet vivid characterisation of the three central players, Grieves uses the construct of the ‘moustache-twirling villain’ to great effect, building a character who is certainly comical in his villainy, but no less effectively threatening to the established status quo.
The film can be regarded as topical, alluding to the soulless ‘content’ of mass production versus the attention and care paid by artists of their particular field. Rattling out goods on a production line with little concern for the end product is demonstrated as faster, but not necessarily superior, to processes which take more time and result in more uneven results.
There are also some rather culturally relevant ideas within the film about the lengths to which companies must go in order to impress their increasingly fickle and demanding customers in a saturated market, with the small business owners, suddenly threatened, resorting to tricks entirely separated from what they are actually selling – literally and figuratively back-flipping and giving away prizes in order to win the approval of the crowd and make a sale. By the time we reach his gloriously anarchic finale, it’s clear to see where Grieves’ sympathies lie.