The unbroken vessels, aka thoughts on “All Done and Dusted” (USA, 2010, 3 min)

All Done and Dusted

All Done and Dusted is a 3 minutes long short film from 2010, made available online on YouTube by JFI (Jewish Film Institute). Here is my page about the film with synopsis. You may want to watch the film first, at the end of this post, as my insight below contains spoilers. 

By now the concept of “tikkun olam” transferred from Lurianic Kabbalah to most versions of Judaism. A simple version of this is that the first creation was broken an our task is to gather its broken vessel fragments as they contain the divine sparks. Being aware of this myth/concept makes the allegory of this short film even more powerful. It is not hard to decipher that the hundreds of unique pots, mugs and other vessels made of china— first shown one by one, then marching out a door, then being smashed by a hammer — symbolizes people. Specifically people killed in the Holocaust. 

It is already a deep metaphor in itself. If one also considers that each of these vessels contained the divine spark that can never be recovered one’s grief intensifies. The picture of a large collection of the same kind of objects–yet each of them is slightly different–evokes the piles of glasses, shoes and other personal objects gathered and displayed at Auschwitz. Yet another clear connection to the subject matter that saddens those who makes the connection.

The whole pieces is beautifully executed. The accompanying music, by Alexander Bălănescu, is also a good choice. The closing lines–the only text visible in the un-narrated piece– adds another layer of meaning: “For those we never met but always miss.” If it makes you feel the tragedy of broken vessels/humans like it did for me Vera Neaubauer, the director, has achieved its goal.

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