Thom Yorke: a message on empathy in the short film Anima

This review is of different kind respect the usual ones. This is not an album, an EP or an interview. This time Music Pills gives space to a new format: the short film.

Thom Yorke released the album Anima on 26 June. When an artist releases an album this one is usually accompanied by a single in the form of a video clip. Thom wanted more: a short film indeed.

Album Cover

It takes the title from the full album and features Thom himself as the main actor in this visual novel directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (he directed and produced movies like Hard Eight, Magnolia, documentaries such as Junun, etc). You find Anima on Netflix, length 15 minutes. Obviously speaking, you don’t find all the songs of the album but just three of them: Not The News, Traffic and Dawn Chorus. Every song has a role in the story and constitutes one of the scenes. Who writes thinks that knowing what happens in Anima can’t be considered as a spoiler, because the focus about the “story” should be kept upon the

The short film is available on Netflix

fusion between music and visuals and on the concept that both the musician from Radiohead and the director want to express, so there will be details about the action.



-Not the News


-Dawn Chorus

The film begins on the blipping parts at the beginning of Not The News and you see T. sat on a tram, hypnotized by the sleeping people around him. Suddenly he notices a girl who watches him back, and then everyone begins to dance like being tired, making all that kind of moves as the song comes to its heart, an atmospheric verse upon which T. whispers. While people get down from the tram into the underground, each towards the own job place, T. tries to reach the girl he got curious about but he can’t see her anymore in the crowd; furthermore he gets blocked in a turnstile while a string section breaks in using dissonance to describe an annoying situation for the poor protagonist. Then the tune changes and becomes Traffic when he gets free; he reaches a plain, white surface where he sees all the people who surpassed him, they block him again and the only way for the poor T. to reach his goal is tmg-facebook_socialto disguise himself among the workers. The surface bends up and down to force everyone on the floor, the only way to stay on feet is to fight against. Someway T. remains alone, he sits down and gets lost in a gust of dry leaves. He wakes up on a grid that lights him from below on the first synth melody chords of Dawn Chorus. After getting up, he finds the girl he was missing. A sweet dance begins and the couple dances for the streets of a European city, falling in love each other: they run, they stop and move backward, again they turn and continue their path, a continuous exchange of embraces until they get again on the tram. There they sit down again, and after the last caress, T. falls asleep, just like he was at the beginning of the story.

anima-thom-yorkeWhat is cool about Anima is that what’s behind the visuals is narrated through setting, dance, and music, a story of grey routine, like the usual day of many adult people out there. The routine is broken by the encounter of T. and the girl, both part of the workers in the background: you may notice that T. also tries to keep a toolbox with him. The Toolbox is the symbol of the routine, the tools he uses every day, he tries to get it again after having lost it at the turnstile but the condition to embrace a new inspiration like the girl is to leave it behind. The encounter constitutes the spark that lights up the day and falling in love with each other is an escape from the alienating reality around the newborn lovers. As any story about the reality and rawness of the world, they come back to the vehicle upon which they live the beginning of the daily routine and start again the cycle of daily life.

Written for you by Music Pills


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