“Kingdom” by Tan Wei Keong is part of the Shorts Section at the Berlin International Film Festival. Within the 5-minute short film, the animation artist from Singapore creates an emotional landscape.

A naked man is walking across the woods with his suitcase. During his journey, he transcends between the worlds, turns into different beings and ultimately falls apart like a doll. The man seems to be on a quest, but we don’t know what he is looking for. Is he looking for other people, his inner self or just a way out of the dark forest? As we do not get information about the identity of the protagonist and the cause of his situation, the interpretation is in the eye of the beholder.

Kingdom” screened at Berlin Film Festival

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The plain animation fits the undescribed character. Mixing drawing with photography, Tan Wei Keong generates a surreal afterimage, which is dominated by a black and white tint. This leads to a mysterious and also depressing atmosphere of uncertainty.

The visual image is accompanied by a naturalistic sound composition. Twittering of birds, the chirping of insects and the wind rushing through the trees. The audio adds some dramatic weight by sounding the chimes of a piano, as the story moves on. Sound Designer Darren Ng hits the right tones here.

“Kingdom” is the sixth short film by Tan Wei Keong and is a metaphorical voyage presented in a minimalistic way. Nevertheless, his film contains a complexity, which needs to be discovered by the viewer’s own mind.