BECAUSE OF THE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW WE STRONGLY ADVISE TO WATCH THE FILM FIRST.
‘Enchanted Ink‘ is a short animation that will lead you through the world of Persian calligraphy. Directors Brandon Scarry and Lauren Hart revive this old occupation and tradition as an animation theme and make a film of many meanings.
A little girl is taught the art of calligraphy by her teacher. When correctly drawn by the calligrapher, words will come to life and enchant the little girl with their beauty. However, the little girl is still uninitiated and is still learning to develop her aesthetic skills. In a short absence of her master her freshly ‘drawn’ words will come to life as imperfect as the writing on the paper, creating either sad or dangerous situations. She will have to fight the new challenges alone, which can only be done by practicing.
Like Asian people (Chinese, Japanese) antic Persians would give very much importance to calligraphy. The aesthetic of writing was very important and for some nations was also a form of respect in transferring the beauty of creation in writing. The pleasure of reading and the meanings of the pages read – if we think about it – are also ‘fortified’ by the beauty of calligraphy. The same idea is expressed by the directors in ‘Enchanted Ink’. Not only that words come to life as ugly or as beautifully as written but their ‘attitude’ and means of expression reflect the ugliness or the beauty of the writing. This is both a lesson about quality and respect for the work done for the little girl’s character but also a lesson about practice. Only by practicing can she reach true calligraphic skills and reign over them and the notions they represent – like the calligraphy should carry all the knowledge (or at least as much as possible) about the thing described by the written word.
All in all this is not only a story about the importance of calligraphy in ancient Persia, but a story about the importance of respect for the work done, a story about dedication and practicing to perfect own skills and also a story about the distortion and saturation of skills which endanger us with results brought forth as the interest manifested for them.
The animation could have supported better finish and the music a little better fitting but the meanings of ‘Enchanted Ink’ are genuine and profound. This is one short film with truly ‘enchanting’ means of expressing things. Good job for this one!