Conjoined twins undergo separation surgery during childhood. Much later in life, they work together making dreadful-looking dolls, and yearn to be conjoined again.

Content Warning: This short contains violence and unsettling imagery.

One thought on “SATURDAY SHORT: THE SEPARATION (2003)”

  1. Creepy! I’ve read books about real conjoined twins, Chang and Eng, watched Sarah Paulson create the truly disturbing Bette and Dot in “American Horror Story,” and seen the live-action film “Brothers of the Head,” but this animated vignette thrusts the unique psychological consciousness of twin “attachment” quickly to the fore. I kind of expected a parent to appear and give a sense of whether these two would have a chance at happy lives after they were separated, but the sudden leap to their sad, “marking time” adulthoods jolts with emptiness. Darkness, isolation, and the assembling of vacant-eyed but unblemished dolls just piles on their sense of “otherness” – scarred, imperfect, and unloved. Yet one twin longs for not only connection, but REconnection to the only person in the world who can ever know him. You sense he’s hinted at “rejoining” before, and the practical twin has rebuffed the idea. So when he pushes the proposal from speculative to “let’s do this,” his twin is forced into a sobering choice. While not as emotionally needy, he’s still attached mentally, socially, and spiritually to his “other.” On the other hand, what benefit awaits if they literally re-connect? And what will be the consequences if he refuses?

    The ensuing mutilation pierces the heart of the viewer as it ravages the body of the vulnerable twin. The practical one roils in horror at what he’s done, but realizes only as the years pass that his attempt to free himself has, indeed, condemned him. His twin lives on, utterly helpless and dependent now, and his guilt, regret, and ultimate need to make things right brings them full circle. Washing and dressing his twin carefully, the two again become one, albeit in abbreviated form. I had a hard time telling whether the broken twin’s complete body was placed in front of the healthy one as they approached the hospital bed, but there is no mistaking the final sense of peace that both feel as they lay down together to await death. One of the twins’ dolls is pressed to the breast of the broken twin, and his final image is of his restoration as a singular body with two heads.

    Weird, sad, and provocative, this short will linger in your mind long after its viewing. The stop-motion animation is perfect for a tale of conjoined children who, when separated, move haltingly in a world that will not receive them in a soft embrace. Only death will do that, and ultimately, reunite them.

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