I recently watched the short film Borderlines by Hanka Novakova and really enjoyed the story and character design.
At the beginning of the film the audience is presented with a problem; there is a loose stick that continually falls and needs to be propped up. In the subsequent scenes it is revealed to the audience that this stick is part of a wall which separates two characters. The two characters look similar, the only discernible difference is their colour – one is orange and the other is grey.
We become aware quite early on that these two characters are very different. The orange character is careful and considerate, whereas the grey character is greedy and selfish. Hanka reveals these traits by showing the audience how the characters react to certain problems.
The orange character is the first to prop up the stick, and does so in a careful manner. However, when the stick falls again, it is the grey character who returns it to it’s original place. When he does so he also leans on the wall, which collapses, trapping the orange character in a small box. The grey character reacts to this, not by helping the now squished orange character out of the confined box, but instead uses the box as a table to put his food on.
The audience becomes aware that the grey character is greedy because of the way he eats his food. He swallows the chicken whole, rather than eating it with a knife and fork, and continues to eat the plate and a vase of flowers. Due to this overeating the grey character physically grows larger taking up more of the already confined space.
By contrast, the orange character is shown to be much more diplomatic and considerate. When the orange character is left outside of the house he politely knocks on the wall waiting to be let in. When the grey character ignores his knock the little orange character crawls through a cat flap and occupies a small space on the floor.
As the story develops and the dispute over space has escalated to the two characters having no house at all, the audience is shown again how good the orange character is. As the sticks supporting them become unstable the grey character falls and slides over the edge, but the orange character runs to catch him. As the camera pans out we are shown that there are many characters who are in the same position as the the grey and orange character. They begin to work together with the scarce material they have to build a big shelter for them all to share.
The story demonstrates very simply and clearly the importance of coexisting peacefully with others. There is no location attached to this story because the background is white, and there is also no dialogue which makes the story universally accessible and relatable to everyone.
Here is a link to the film: http://www.mdr.de/unicato/video-65210.html