L'appel du vide

L'appel du vide was my final project during my Illustration and Animation Course at Anglia Ruskin University.

My final film follows the structure of Greek tragedies, inspired by tales like Orpheus and Eurydice; along with classical pieces such as Giselle. This project originated from a personal loss I had experienced.

The main character is driven to the extremes to try and save her wife; going into the unknown and willing to give up anything.

Zira means Moonlight!

Aurora means dawn!

The main character, Zira is overeager to save her love, she doesn’t think about her actions and how it could affect Aurora, her wife. In the film, she trades her necklace for the potion that should allow Aurora to be able to breathe properly. However, this necklace was representative of the love they have. Zira has the sun charm, and Aurora has the moon. Is it worth saving her life if their love is no more?

This film is titled “L’appel du vide”. This is a French statement which translates to ‘the call of the void’. It’s a French phrase which can also be used to describe the strong impulse a person may feel, to jump or fall from a high place. This literally references a scene within the animation, but it also refers to how quickly the Zira decides to accept the Mermaid’s deal, she is unable to take a moment to think and her impulse jumps for the first resolution. This decision eventually leads her to an emotional void.


When Zira speaks to the mermaid, I used sign language to communicate what she wanted from her, rather than using speech. I had chosen to depict the conversation this way because of another animated media, which also features mermaids.

As a child obsessed with mermaids, one of the shows I would watch was ‘The Little Mermaid’ TV series. The most memorable episode, for me, was ‘Wish upon a Starfish’ which introduced the character, Gabriella.

Gabriella was a deaf/mute mermaid who joined Ariel on a journey to find a mystical starfish who could grant wishes, as she wished to have a voice so she could sing. Being mute itself is a feature so integral to the story of the Little Mermaid, another tale that has a bittersweet ending, so it felt right to use sign language in place of spoken language.

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This was my first time seeing sign language representation in mainstream media, and the character was so memorable, without even having to say a single word.