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The Independent Critic

Konstantin Bronzit
16 Mins.

 "He Can't Live Without Cosmos" a Finalist at Indy Shorts  

It's a remarkable year for the animated shorts at the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival in Indianapolis. It seems almost unimaginable that at least one, if not more than one, of this year's finalists will be mentioned when it comes time for the 2021 Academy Awards. Among the potential nominees is this film, Konstantin Bronzit's thoughtful and meditative He Can't Live Without Cosmos. 

He Can't Live Without Cosmos is, at least in some ways, a companion film to Bronzit's 2016 Academy Award-nominated animated short film We Can't Live Without Cosmos, a similarly themed film that focused its eye on two cosmonauts trained for a space mission. This film spins the time dial back and focuses its lens on a childhood through the experiences of a newborn cosmonaut who, despite the apparent warmth of a devoted mother, refuses to remove the shield of protection he seems to derive from his cosmonaut uniform. With specific references to what may be a traumatic past, He Can't Live Without Cosmos can easily be interpreted as either a prequel or a sequel to We Can't Live Without Cosmos. 

Bronzit is a two time Academy Award nominated filmmaking, 2009's Lavatory Lovestory joining his 2016 nomination. Born in St. Petersburg, the Russian filmmaker is easily one of the most thought-provoking animated filmmakers working today and magnificently pulls off this film's dramatic tone and pathos. As is so accurately noted in describing the film, He Can't Live Without Cosmos is a story about a mother and son while also tackling the more universal themes of loneliness and love and destiny. The film's closing shots are remarkable, devoid of unnecessary histrionics and yet getting right to the heart of the matter with simplicity and precision. 

He Can't Live Without Cosmos picked up the prize for Best Animated Film from the Russian Guild of Film Critics and also snagged the top animation prize in Russia's Golden Eagle Awards. The film's music by Valentin Vasenkov companions the film quite nicely and enhances the film's meditative qualities. 

Screening as part of the Finalist 3 block of films during this week's virtual, pandemic-influenced Indy Shorts, He Can't Live Without Cosmos is a memorable, thought-provoking effort that may very well find Bronzit snagging his third Academy Award nomination come awards season. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic