Don Hertzfeldt is one of the internet’s worst kept secrets. He’s an animator who thinks that existential dread is absolutely hilarious and does for the pen and paper what David Lynch did for proper cinema.
Among other accomplishments, he’s established himself as someone who can bring the Creepypasta aesthetic to the Sundance crowd.
The most mainstream work he’s produced is a recent Simpsons couch gag.
How did that make it to network TV? God, we live in a beautiful time.
The 39-year-old Hertzfeldt has been very public in his declining of mainstream work, especially in the field of advertising. The independently-minded creator regularly delights fans with his releases. This all brings us to World of Tomorrow, which is currently on Netflix.
The film follows a little girl (Emily Prime) who is visited by a cloned version of herself from the distant future. This barely recognizable clone attempts to explain the beauty of the universe, but also explores the failures and pitfalls of trans-humanism and class-warfare to a child who just wants to dance.
Coming in at just under 15 minutes — and currently up for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film — the film had me in pieces by minute three. It is packed with rumination about a possible future that varies from the emotional to the alarmist. The film’s deadpan-yet-emotionally-resonant filter allows it to resonate across the broad spectrum it creates for itself.
Beyond that, this content is worth experiencing for one’s self. It’s a borderline masterpiece. The film’s message is simple and timeless: “Go live in the world right now.” This shouldn’t prevent you, however, from wasting a few more minutes online by watching it right now.