Egg is an animation about attempting – and failing – to take control of something you are afraid of

Beautiful, refined and enigmatic, Egg is an animated film about a woman who has to eat an egg, but doesn’t want to. Crafted in undulating black and white lines and dense blocks of negative space, the poignant film delves into themes of anxiety and control. “It’s a story about taking control over something you are afraid of, and then failing,” says the film’s director Martina Scarpelli on her highly acclaimed 12-minute short. “It’s also a film about victory.”

Born and raised in Italy, the animator studied at Brera Fine Art Academy in Milan where she delved into painting, drawing and expanded her interest in art history, aesthetics and linguistics. Soon after, she enrolled in a second bachelor’s degree, this time, studying animation at the Experimental Centre of Cinematography in Turin. “Yet, in spite of two bachelor’s, a couple of professional workshops and two films, I wake up almost every day, 50 per cent excited and 50 per cent terrified,” says Martina. “I’ve learnt that it’s a good place to be.” Though she’d never been a big follower of animation, it was “the pure satisfaction of seeing something that [she’d] imagined being done” that drew her to the medium.

“To be honest,” Martina continues, “when I entered the animation department at the Experimental Centre of Cinematography, I had no idea what to expect and definitely did not know what I was doing.” In spite of this, throughout the degree, she worked tirelessly to overcome the challenges involved in the labour-intensive process and, slowly, started to realise her vision of storytelling. She first started the script for Egg back in 2013 when scriptwriter Les Mills and director Joanna Quinn led a workshop during her studies. They asked the class to write 500 words about a turning point in their lives, and in this session, the concept for Egg was born.

“I felt uncomfortable reading it to others,” says Martina on the highly personal text, “so that first draft of the film was very abstract.” And three years later, after redrafting, reworking and stylising the work, she finally made the film. “I always wanted the film to be extremely clean and slightly disgusting,” she says of the film’s aesthetics. The story never really changed – it is still uncanny and quite disturbing, but it became more personal, less serious, and a bit silly.”

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