Inner Steppe is a short stop-motion animation piece by German designer and animator Alex Schulz. Drawing upon the literature and themes of writer Hermann Hesse and intellectual Carl Jung, this five minute short is a surreal journey that takes viewers deep into the inner mind of its main character.
The animation is a bit choppy, and doesn’t quite measure up to the ethereal oddness of work from filmmakers like The Brothers Quay or Tim Burton. What makes this piece so endearing is the character design. Intricately designed and formed, these characters have some major depth! In my opinion, the set design is also a strong point in Inner Steppe. It really pushes the sense of isolation. Shultz’s use of an orange-brown palette throughout the film is breathtaking, and the lighting is well placed; soft, yet striking. While I wasn’t completely sold on the camera movement and thought them a bit jerky, it does add a sort of bizarro feel to the odd, loathsome nature of the piece.
The story is a bit difficult to follow, but it is a surrealist piece. It conveys the inner feelings, fears, and desires of the main protagonist. I love this sort of filmmaking.
If you were looking for a great way to spend five minutes of your time today, enjoy.