Sensory Overload

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Have you ever wanted to hate the world and everything in it? Miguel Jiron’s Sensory Overload introduces us to a universe in which every little irritating detail is ramped up to 11, so that the rat-a-tat of a pen echoes like a warlord’s drum in the dark corners of your brain, a tapping shoe becomes nails in the coffin of your despair and the seemingly innocent laughter of a nearby girl is like the shrieking cackle of harpies, as they circle the corpse of your fractured mind. But who could perceive such a dreadful and hyperbolic world, and not be beaten into insanity?

Autism comes in many shapes and sizes, some people find it difficult to communicate properly, some people have obsessive compulsive tendencies, where they feel the need to arrange their DVDs in a specific order (but when you think about it that makes sense, right? Everyone should do it) and then there’s people who are ritualistic, and feel the need to own every piece of Star Wars merchandise.

Sensory Overload is about a young boy (with Autism) who has a hard time processing a lot of sensory experiences at once, and the result is he becomes overwhelmed by everyday images and sounds. The simple animation is really nicely put together, emphasising all the important details of the boy’s breakdown with satisfying stylistic flourishes, and jets of colour. The film focuses solely on creating an experience for the audience, so that we can get a sense of the confusion and fear of somebody who is suffering from sensory overload.

It’s essentially an advert for Autism awareness, and was indeed funded by the federal Agency for Health and Research (U.S. health Care), but as a piece of storytelling it works incredibly well, embracing everything that makes film so great, to put us in the mindspace (if that’s a word) of someone with Autism. As a leaflet or a booklet, the message would be lost on most people, but as a film that cleverly utilises sound and image, Sensory Overload successfully puts viewers in the shoes of the young boy with Autism, and you can’t help but empathise.

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David Knight is, for all intents and purposes, a human. I mean, he must be right? He has all the essential features necessary, and certainly talks a good game. When he’s not writing words with his hands on a keyboard, he’s speaking words with his mouth on The Bunker podcast.

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