As Waking Life demonstrated, animation can elevate even the most mundane conversations into an ecstatic celebration of life and all its weirdness. Open Recess is the animated story of a girl’s first lesbian crush/romance in middle school. The process must have started with a taped voiceover using a generic open air microphone – you can practically hear the emptiness of the room – which was edited to a short breezy length of three minutes consisting of nothing but the meat. This was finished with a simple (but not simplistic) animation that elevates the memory of our flood of teenage emotions.
Open Recess is not just a simplistic romance of love and heartbreak (it’s not a spoiler if it is in the freeze frame!). In three minutes, Amy Xu and Kee Moore (interviewee) explore love, loss, and the cultural pressures that exist for LGBTQ+ youth that simply do not exist for heterosexual youth. It’s a familiar topic, phenomenally compressed and illustrated with sensitivity and nuance.