Robert Löbel

LINK | Disconnected journeys of the ties that bind 

LINK is a 2017 animated short film directed by award-winning animator and illustrator Robert Löbel. With a simple and straightforward narrative, the film centres on two characters who are connected and bound by their hair but with their minds set on two different paths.

In an interview with Skwigly Animation Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Ben Mitchell, Löbel stated that he initially had the idea for LINK when he visited his mother on her birthday, “I sat at the table together with my grandparents and we totally had nothing to say to each other.” It was customary for Löbel’s family to see each other every year, but despite being a family, there was still a feeling of detachment and unfamiliarity with one another. “That’s when I started to think about these family connections–you never can tear it apart and everyone goes different ways to express their personality, but if something happens to one of them all the other members know about it immediately,” he added. The Berlin-based filmmaker also stated that his friends from the past with who he’s lost connection, becoming strangers to one another, as another form of inspiration. 

As a means of making stronger connections in a visual form, a person’s “hair” is the perfect element to symbolize something that comes literally and figuratively out of one’s head. Uncomfortable as it may seem, it still brings two people closer. Out of the shadows, the two characters in LINK are connected but are on the verge of venturing towards different paths. But as they force their way away from each other, a ripple effect is cast in motion. This can be likened to Newton’s third law of motion; where for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In 2013, Löbel released the short film Wind as a graduation project at the HAW Hamburg Department of Design. This animated short tells the story of people living in windy weather conditions, conforming to this new normality and the natural way of living. With this significant style of utilising the laws of physics in his animated shorts, Löbel likes “to play around with characters and conflicts that affect their behaviour.” In LINK, he wanted to experiment on animating two characters that mostly aren’t on the same frame, but still feel connected.

There are these revolving themes of connection and the ties that bind, ties that may be predetermined, and persistently trying to break free from something that may not seem healthy anymore. Human nature has ceased to exist alongside change, therefore, exploring a world of change that’s out of one’s familiarity can give a breath of new life. 

LINK isn’t just about two characters fighting their way out of each other’s crosshairs, it’s about embracing contrasting ideas and aspirations that may hinder one’s fulfilment. 

Ralph Regis is currently a junior film student at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines.