Balance (1989)

Director: Christoph Lauenstein
Producer: Wolfgang Lauenstein
Genre: Animation / Short
Country: Germany
Language: English / German / None

A meditation on human interdependence.

Directed by German brothers Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein, Balance is a remarkable piece of animation. A platform floats in a neutral space. Strange men, identical except for the numbers on their back, appearing as though out of some dystopian future, must work in concert to prevent the platform from tipping and cause them all to fall. This reasonably harmonious understanding is lost when one man pulls up a heavy box. In the ensuing struggle, balance is lost in more than one sense.

Like a story out of Game Theory, if the men were to cooperate they could all enjoy the box together, but it is selfishness that dooms them. The ironic ending of Balance, who is at fault? The men that fail to do what is best for them? Or the system that fails to acknowledge this human quality?

It has won many international prizes, including an “Academy Award” for Best Animated Short.

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