My Darling’s Shadow

Every frame of Conor Whelan’s latest short, “My Darling’s Shadow,” is a beautiful study of composition, color and reduction of form. 

I watched the film straight through twice, just relishing the way that diagonal foreground elements would slice across a scene or the way that figures emerged from negative space like perceptual puzzles coalescing somewhere between the screen and my mind.

Once you’ve checked it out, weigh in via the comments with your theory about the plot. Is it just a simple tale of revenge — or is there something else going on? Every time I watch it, I come up with a different conclusion.

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Oh, and there’s also a nice easter egg in the close up of the key, when the name Conor’s former employer, Dublin-based Piranha Bar, is just legible.

Update: It’s just been announced that Conor is actually joining Vancouver-based Giant Ant (along with art director Eric Pautz from Roof in NYC).

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Conor’s portfolio is full of more refined line work and elegant animation.

Credits

Design and Animation by Conor Whelan
Sound Design by Fab Martini
‘Look In My Eyes’ by The Chantels

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About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer and F5. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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  • This is beautiful! I love Conor’s Work! – I think its a tale of revenge but with some misinterpretation from the leading woman.

  • (SORRY FOR CAPS, RENDERING NOT YELLING)
    I LOVE THIS STYLE OF ANIMATION AND THIS WAS A BEAUTIFUL RENDITION.

    THE STORY IS PRETTY INTERESTING TOO. IT REALLY SEEMS TO ME LIKE THE GUY IS HAVING AN AFFAIR AND THE WIFE ENDS UP KILLING HIM. BUT THATS PROBABLY TOO OBVIOUS FOR IT TO BE WHAT CONOR HAD IN MIND.

  • JRI

    great vehicle to bring back the starglow. amazing.

  • That is simply stunning stuff. Top notch!

  • Sean McClintock

    So good Conor. Hats off.

  • Just beautiful. Sunning colors and compositions and style.

    The first time I watched it I thought it might be about a cheating husband, and a vengeful wife. However, watching it again, (and this is just my interpretation) I feel like there’s actually only one woman (the wife). Just based on character design and shot composition you get the sense she’s maybe schizophrenic or has split personality. The way her face is always portrayed in a half light half shadow, twoface-esque composition. You also never see her in the same room/shot as the other woman. maybe that’s far-fetched, I’d love to hear it explained by the director.

    • Interesting theory, but we do see the other woman in the shot in the hotel. It’s hard to see as she’s in the bottom corner of the frame, in the shadows.

      Perhaps, her “Darling’s shadow?”

      • Arif Samin

        Now that I read this, I managed to notice there’s a shadow of another women lying lifeless. What an intriguing piece of work.

  • Well, I dont think she’s walking into a hotel. She;s walking into her own house (eg. she has a key, and the pictures on the wall seem to be of her and her husband). Another reason I think there’s no other woman in the picture. When she walks in right after they appear to, she opens the door and there’s actually nobody else in the house, which makes me think she’s just thinking of past memories with her husband.

    Godamn, am i looking too into this?

    • If there’s no other woman, why is she angry about the lipstick at the washing machine? I interpreted it that the woman who the man carries into the bedroom is a different woman than the one who opens the front door immediately thereafter.

      • Yep, that washing machine shot is the most challenging one for the One Woman theory. However, you could argue that:

        A. The woman suffers from a kind of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde psychosis. Maybe she’s not aware of the actions of her alter ego.

        OR

        B. The lipstick is a reminder that her husband *can* be romantic (the shot of two of them dancing together comes to mind), but that he has somehow lost touch with that side of himself… and she is angry/distraught/frustrated by it.

        Maybe?

        • I concede that as a possibility, but Occam’s Razor (Occam’s Lipstick?) suggests to me the more obvious answer is the likely one. But kudos to Conor for producing a three-minute video captivating enough to have us speculating!

          • Yeah, I’m not sure I buy either theory myself. Ha!
            I do enjoy the puzzle, though. :)

    • The hotel scene I’m mentioning is the shot revealing the husband’s murder (look outside the window and you can see the “OTEL” signage. Clearly the murder didn’t happen in the house. t think the other woman is only shown in that specific shot, the other instances are the main character’s own visions/flashbacks of their better days.

  • BubMeersman

    Love this stuff, great job and all the comments/speculation, it just adds to the intrigue! Great animation, style, story and LINES! I’m gunna go watch it again!