Nicolas Menard’s animated short succinctly captures an existential crisis

People spend their entire lives searching for what the main character of Nicolas Menard’s “Wednesday With Goddard” found in a single afternoon. But Menard, a London-based artist and animator, manages to compress one man’s quest for meaning — and subsequent existential crisis — into a five-minute film.

“Wednesday With Goddard” is one of 12 finalists in TheWrap’s 2017 ShortList Film Festival. In it, during one rainy afternoon, the main character (an unnamed man) emerges from his house to admire the rain. He says the beauty of the rain makes him believe in God, but that he can’t believe in something he can’t see. So he goes on a quest to find God.

Every person the man asks for help locating God laughs at him — that is, until Evelyn comes along. She knows where to find God and offers to lead the man to the top of a mountain where he lives. In the process, the man falls in love with Evelyn, proclaiming, “You are by far my favorite human, and I want to die by your side.” But when God appears, he appears as a red face inside of a flower and swallows up Evelyn. The man then goes home and is left crying in his shower.

The most beautiful aspect of “Wednesday With Goddard” is how it contrasts simplicity with complexity. The blocky, cartoonish human characters look nothing like the beautifully hand-drawn fruit, plants and birds of the landscape. Through these clunky, two-dimensional characters, Menard opens a window into the devastation and uncertainty that come with love lost and an existential crisis. The film says so much about the complexities of life and emotions in less than five minutes. At the end, we’re left wondering how the man will recover.

Watch the short film above. Viewers can also screen the films at any time during the festival at Shortlistfilmfestival.com and vote from Aug. 8-22. Presented with support from IMAX.