A loud soccer match on television transforms into an actual game happening right inside the apartment. Noisy snoring ratchets up to a high-decibel typhoon. A yellow flood submerges the room after someone takes a trip to the bathroom. The ability to express how something actually feels by drawing it into proportion is where animation can really excel. And when you can’t sleep, everything seems just that dramatic. That’s what the Gobelins animation team is depicting with their recent short film, Coffin, which visualizes a night in the life of one of Hong Kong’s notorious coffin homes.
电视上嘈杂的足球竞技，转眼变成了球员在屋内的盘带和拼抢；如雷的鼾声升级为超强台风；洗手间内的污浊如潮水一般略过地板。通过夸张的手法来描述事件，以生动的方式表达实际的感受，这恰恰是动画带来的力量。而当你无法入睡时，周围一切，哪怕再细微的声响，也会变本加厉。这支动画片来自 Gobelins 团队最新的创作《棺材》(Coffin)，展示了在香港臭名昭著的棺材屋中度过的一晚。
“We wanted to tell a story about one guy’s struggle with insomnia,” the team says. “But by placing it in a realistic setting, we’re also able to educate people about the coffin apartment situation. Why do they still exist? How do they affect people’s lives?”
Hong Kong’s coffin homes have long been a source of fascination for those on the outside and a well of frustration for those stuck within them. The tiny units are the size of a bed, and they’re stacked on top of each other within subdivided apartments sharing a single bathroom. These spaces are the only alternative to homelessness for some 200,000 people in the world’s most expensive city.
一直以来，香港棺材屋吸引着外人和媒体好奇的眼光，但对于住在里面的人来说，这里却是痛苦的囚牢。狭窄的房间只有放下一张床，彼此堆叠在一房一卫的空间内。在这座全球最昂贵的城市里，这些棺材屋便 20 万人的家，也是穷困潦倒的唯一选择。
The five-minute film took ten months to complete. Since no one from Gobelins is from Hong Kong itself (although one is from nearby Guangzhou), they took inspiration from news articles and photo essays, as well as local television shows and movies that depict the struggle of those living within these coffin homes. “It’s really more about surviving than living in these spaces,” they explain.
5 分钟的短片，共耗时十个月完成。由于 Gobelins 团队成员中没有一人来自香港（只有其中一个人来自附近的广州），他们只能从新闻和图片、电视和电影中找寻棺材屋的灵感。他们表示：“住在这样的地方，生存是当务之急。”
In the comments for the video, Hong Kong citizens have talked about how it made them feel: “Some said it’s super funny and really made them laugh. But the others felt very bad because through the film they said they saw themselves.” Other people commented that they doubted the quality of life in these spaces could really be that bad. “To be honest, the reality is way more brutal.”
In so many ways, the pandemic exposed and exacerbated inequality around the world, with those already suffering facing even more hardship. Residents of coffin homes are no exception and the spaces proved to be hotspots for the virus. Lockdowns and unemployment also keep them cooped up in their holes even longer. Hopefully, as more projects like this crop up, they can help raise awareness and become a catalyst for change.