It would be an understatement to refer to ‘The Eve’ by Luca Machnich as a linear tale of horror. The tale far surpasses the nature of individual despair and gently allows the narrative to flow in the domain of collective agony.
It is a tale about an eight year old boy, Simon who wants to leave his house and go with Santa Claus to his factory. A house that has offered very little glee to Simon. He wants to get rid of a sense of perpetual disenchantment that has bothered him for a very long time. He finds the landscape around him sterile, devoid of hope. Simon is like the small boy in the last chapter of Italo Calvino’s ‘Marcovaldo’ titled Santa’s Children. Like Simon the little boy finds very little joy in materialistic opulence. They reject the expensive gifts offered to them on Christmas Eve. They find little hope in opulence devoid of substance. Simon’s sense of disenchantment would also remind one of ‘The little match girl’ by Hans Christian Andersen. The living is vacuous for them, they desire to abandon the world that has systematically abandoned them.Simon however forgets the fact that the sense of disenchantment is not personal anymore, it has plagued every individual around him.
The superficial like Keats’ fancy doesn’t possess the ability to cheat mankind well. When individuals like Simon discover the artificiality of hope, their senses run amok. The conversation between Simon and Santa Claus was impeccably conceptualised, the shady yellow colour frame was the perfect choice for capturing a ‘choreographed’ interaction between the real and the fantastic. The background music , a little loud at times could have been toned down a little. The classic suspense tune runs the risk of sounding a little overused. The animated scenes were well designed, with some decent editing they enhanced the visual potency of the narrative.
The ending scene would rattle a few nerves, make one feel uncomfortable and would force him to contemplate the whole point of the story. This is precisely where the director’s genius creeps in. Machnich perfectly synthesises the individual with the collective in terms of the universality of grief and agony. The aberrant desire of Simon is almost a prelude to the ‘surprise’ planned by Santa. ‘The Eve’ indicates man’s perpetual fall into the abyss of loneliness, a no exit of dismal proportions.