By Kate Teves
Confession: I have an allergic reaction to political allegory (which means I will need to take a factory-load of antihistamines in 2019). I regularly declare to anyone who will listen that art is art because it escapes meaning. But like a good lawyer, I sometimes make the argument just for the sake of making the argument, and I don’t believe it half of the time.
And today is an example of when I don’t believe it. Thank goodness. I have been profoundly moved by Dinner For Few, the award-winning 2014 animated short by filmmaker Nassos Vakalis. This unabashedly weird film is a scathing criticism of our times with an addictive score and thrilling animation.
That animation juxtaposes the clunky, mechanical bodies of bourgeois pigs with lithe, nimble bodies of proletariat cats. It is just one of many juxtapositions that make this film jolt you awake and leave you with an uncanny sense of doom.
You can understand a lot of the allegory in this unusual film even if you haven’t brushed up on The Communist Manifesto in a while, and perhaps the most powerful part of this film is the dread it conveys more than any precise messaging. But take a look at the artist’s statement below, and the meaning of it all will instantly become clear.
Nassos Vakalis statement about his film:
“Dinner For Few” is a ten minute CG-animated film depicting a sociopolitical allegory of our society. During dinner, "the system" works like a well-oiled machine. It solely feeds the select few who eventually, foolishly consume all the resources while the rest survive on scraps from the table. Inevitably, when the supply is depleted, the struggle for what remains leads to catastrophic change. Sadly, the offspring of this profound transition turn out not to be a sign of hope, but the spitting image of the parents.
EMMY award winning animation artist Nassos Vakalis directed and wrote the film and the animation was produced in the United States of America and Greece with the technical and artistic collaboration of Eva Vomhoff from Germany. “Dinner For Few” is produced and funded by Nassos Vakalis and his wife Katerina Stergiopoulou. The original music is composed by Kostas Christides and performed by the Bratislava Symphonic Orchestra.
“Dinner For Few” was inspired by the economic recession affecting South European countries like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Nassos Vakalis grew up in Greece, where his family and most of his friends still live. “Dinner For Few” not only reflects his deep concern of the social and economic developments during the crisis but also highlights the inevitable and cyclical nature of the human affairs throughout history.
Through its festival run “Dinner for few” screened at over 250 international film festivals and won 78 awards. It was one of the 60 Animated Shorts that Qualified for the Academy Awards in 2015.