After losing his family to an attack by wolves, a coyote struggles with fear, grief, and anger up until a dark force pushes him to avenge his wife and children.
Lorenz Wunderle’s short animation is one of the most acclaimed animated films of recent memory, its fantastical style layering on top of a story of gut-wrenching tragedy. A hit with both animation and gritty genre fans at the Berlinale, Annecy, and Palm Springs, we’re happy to present its YouTube premiere.
A Film By Lorenz Wunderle
YK Animation Studio
“A tragic event involving villainous wolves leaves a coyote familyless. At a loss between his grief and anger, the coyote lets a demonic force drive him to vengeance, but will that alleviate the pain? Featuring a colorful, visually striking aesthetic, director Lorenz Wunderle puts his protagonist, the “Coyote”, through one of the toughest human experiences: loss. Described by the director as “a beautiful tragedy with macabre picture joke”, the vivid animation style lends the film a very entertaining feel, but ultimately it’s more emotionally powerful than initially meets the eye.
Though Wunderle had a clear idea of the themes he wanted to explore in his film – the turmoil of emotions one experiences after a tragic loss and the inner process in finding a way out – he approached pre-production in quite an unconventional fashion. “The most interesting part of “Coyote” was that we never worked with a written script”, he explains. “Instead, we drew a lot and created a visual language to work on the story”.
An instant classic for both the genre crowd and animation fans, “Coyote” delivers a constantly entertaining pace and doesn’t shy away from serving up some serious blood splatter. Despite the bright colors, it remains a dark tale about vengeance with its violent moments never missing a beat.
From an audience perspective, it’s impossible not to root for the coyote, and watching him finding the strength to avenge his family is quite the ride. There is also an attention to detail that will delight the viewers that enjoy looking for the smaller things in the frame, as they inject an extra layer of humor to the narrative.
However, where “Coyote” truly succeeds is in the packaging of an emotionally layered, tragic story that never feels overwhelming in dealing with such a heavy topic. The narrative has a startling realism (unexpected for a film about a coyote looking to get revenge on wolves!) which certainly delivers emotionally, but it also has a dreamlike quality that wraps the viewer in its graphic fantasy world.
Wunderle’s coyote goes through all the stages of grief in the film’s 10-minute run-time. His helplessness and emotional vulnerability allowing a dark force to take control of him and drive him to seek justice for his family. Like any deal with the devil though, it brings a new array of consequences as the end of his grief cycle soon becomes the beginning of a violent one – confirmed by his shadow in the last shot.
Coyote had its online premiere as a Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere following a very impressive festival run that started with a premiere at the Berlinale 2018, with notable stops at SIFF and Annecy and picking up Oscar qualifying awards in Aspen and Palm Springs.” – S/W Curator, Céline Roustan
Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.