It may seem at first that ‘Unidentified’ doesn’t follow any rule in terms of narrative construction, and the experimental side is pushed to the maximum, but in fact, it builds several stories that are present only in the eye of the true viewer. Hsuan’s short can be a game-changer in terms of story-telling as directors could use this split screen narrative to incorporate several stories at a time, creating a new, fluid and complex experience that could revolutionize experimental films, as we know them.
As we have stated before, ‘Unidentified’ becomes different for each viewer, and that is because of the layering Lin Ching Hsuan does to make it stand out. In every shot, there are two or three layers of colors and motion which can individually be split to represent a different thing. For example, when the feet are dragged in one part there is a color explosion that may be interpreted as the everyday mess we are avoiding with great ease while in the other there is the hardworking person, sweeping the dust, and with this, the fallen one. Having such diversity in less than five minutes of film makes ‘Unidentified’ one of the most complex experiments we have seen in a while. It has all the toppings, all the possible mix-ups, all the elements to make it a work to be remembered by.
We can compare ‘Unidentified’ with Hemingway’s shortest story “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” In both cases, the premise is the focal point, and the story unveils in the mind of the reader/viewer. You do not have to waste a lot of space with a good story; a few words or a few well-pointed shots are more than enough. Ching Hsuan is proving this once again in this powerful short that will definitely make you ask yourself many questions.
Written by Vlad A. G