It’s not unusual for art to cover issues of depression and illness, but it is unusual for it to be done well. The Wound by artist and animator Anna Budanova does just that. Apparently based in part on her own childhood, the short film looks at a young girl and what happens when a simple wound morphs into much more, in this case a shaggy black creature. Slowly, but surely, the creature gains and asserts more and more control of her life. The Russian film has won many awards internationally, yet it’s the way that it managed to interact with and affect audiences that is far more striking. It resonates, striking viewers at a very visceral place.

The design of it is simply stunning. There are elements that are reminiscent of The Snowman, though obviously with a much darker twist. In its simplicity, its messiness, and its powerful animation, the film manages to cover an old theme without ever becoming hackneyed. The images are all at once childlike and foreboding, creating this strange mixtures of comfort and unease.

And it’s not just the visuals, every element of the production is incredibly strong. “The most enjoyable moment was making sound and noise,” Budanova said. “For some parts, we used water pipes in order to create a peculiar soundtrack.” If you listen closely, the effort becomes clear. The sounds and the visuals mesh beautifully in a haunting harmony. 

It’s really worth it to take the time to watch. Whether you’ve suffered from depression yourself or you know someone who does, it may touch a nerve. The Wound nails it. You can see the whole video here:

 

It speaks to anyone who has suffered from mental illness. The constant companionship— even if not always visible to others— the gaining of power and momentum, all the little details. Budanova has created a unique take on a universal theme and it’s no surprise that viewers and critics have responded.