Nothing (2012)

Description (from
A man wakes up to a world disappearing around him.

Major Cast:

Special Features:
None (Online Screener)

Written and Directed by Demeter Lorant


There’s a whole lot going on in these five minutes that I’m not going to claim to get. I know that NOTHING is more than just an exercise in digital rotoscoping, and that there are some heavy philosophical and possibly personal demons on display. I get some of it, but I’m sure there’s some that is going on that goes over my head, which may be a cultural thing or may be just that I’m not digging deep enough into it.

NOTHING is the story of a man whose world is fading away. The man is non-descript, nearly faceless, and pretty much your everyman, and his colorless, featureless interior world is vanishing. Looking outward to the world around, he sees that the generic cookie-cutter masses are still marching, the rat races are still being run, but in his world, things have gone away. The only bit of color comes from within him, and to attempt to show the world he still exists, he lets it out, only to be shown that he too is gone.

The world begins to fade... starting with the alarm clock, which wouldn't be so bad for me!
The world begins to fade… starting with the alarm clock, which wouldn’t be so bad for me!

The film plays like a large metaphor on depression, and while that might not be what Lorant was going for, that was the definite impression it left me with. A man who is pretty much nothing to begin with (no color, no definition, in both himself and his surroundings), watches what little he has fade away (including his door to get out of that world). This seems to be in tune with a depressed person watching their world spiral away from them, including any way for them to get out of that depression. The colorless man finds that the only hue is red, from within, so to get the colorful world outside to notice him, he spills this red outward; very much a suicide both literally in the film as the man cuts his wrist, and figuratively since many suicide attempts are really more about getting attention than actually intending to end one’s life. That spilling of blood gets the attention of the one non-generic inhabitant of the outside world, who comes to his aid, only to find that he has already faded away; this again seems to go back to that trope showing that it is the story of a depressed person looking for the attention of that one special other, and punishing them for not noticing quickly enough.

Nameless, faceless
Nameless, faceless

The animation is interesting, as it’s been a long time since I had seen something rotoscoped. If you are not familiar, rotoscoping is the process of filming, then animation on top of those images. Parts of NOTHING come off like your average flash animation (the shots outside the building, the camera pan through the apartment), and then there is the movement of the man rotoscoped that gives it a more organic feel. It’s compellingly different. The art itself in NOTHING I was not a huge fan of, the style of everything besides the man (and even the man himself when we get into some medium shots on his face) was very cartoony, and with this subject matter that took away from the potential emotional impact of the film. The palette Lorant selected is filled with oranges and yellows, and I wonder if this is supposed to signify jealousy of the character to the outside world… or if he just likes those colors. Not a big fan here, and also not so much on the treatment on the edges of the image to make it look “dirty.”

It's always about a girl.
It’s always about a girl.

Overall, NOTHING is more good than bad for sure. It has very interesting animation bits going on over a very deep and up for discussion story, and that’s tough to pack into less than five minutes. Some of the aesthetics of the film did not work, but those are also up for discussion because what I hate you might love, and vice versa. Deep, dark, brooding stuff with a bright and almost happy palette and animation style make for a juxtaposition that doesn’t quite work, but it’s close.

Overall 6.5 / 10


NOTHING is not on the IMDb.

NOTHING is not for sale.


Nothing (2012)
Nothing (2012)

Embedded here:

Nothing (2012) Animated short by Demeter Lorant from Demeter Lorant on Vimeo.


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