Rule of Three



by Allison Schulnik
Music video, video art

View a still from the artwork

Forest draws us deep into an enchanted realm that teems with beguiling anthropomorphic forms. Each creature is crafted from plasticine, which pulses, unravels, and flows into new shapes, in harmony with the soaring score. Peering into Allison Schulnik’s world, we can observe the moulding marks, even the indentation of fingertips, espying the trace of human life within an otherwise fantastical setting. As the music fades to silence, we are left entranced by the haunting woodland inhabitants, their forlorn, deep-set eyes proving to be the perfect visual accompaniment to Grizzly Bear’s melancholic lyrics.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate

The Devil's Backbone

directed by Guillermo del Toro
Feature film

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The unrelenting Spanish sun beats down on a dusty orphanage courtyard. An unexploded bomb stands tall at its centre, a poignant reminder of the trauma that lies within the four imposing walls, and of the danger and desolation present outside them. The institution is intended to be a safe haven for the children of Republican fighters lost in the Civil War, but when night descends, it becomes clear that its horrors are not confined to the battleground. A ghostly apparition implores Carlos, a wide-eyed newcomer, to piece together the orphanage’s dark secrets before it is too late. Brutality is offset by tenderness, suspense balanced with symbolism.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate

Fullmetal Alchemist

by Hiromu Arakawa

View the manga cover

Cutting a deal with death, Edward Elric gives his right arm to salvage the soul of his sibling. Having sustained grave injuries through a work of botched sorcery, the brothers pursue the philosopher’s stone, hoping to harness the legendary element’s healing properties. The heroes joust with seven individuals formed by a figure known only as Father, each named after a deadly sin. In possession of eternal youth, the vices retain unlined visages and unnervingly soft skin, with the exception of crease-jawed, pulsing-veined Wrath. It is for the alchemical brothers to emerge victorious over each immoral immortal.

Words by Elizabeth Brown

More to discover

Forest: You can watch 'Forest' here, visit Allison Schulnik's official website here, and view more of her works on the Mark Moore Fine Art site. Rachel Will has interviewed the artist for Artsy, as has Tom Christie for LA Weekly.

The Devil's Backbone: You can watch the trailer here, read an article about the film by Mark Kermode for The Criterion Collection, and read an interview with Guillermo del Toro by Anthony Kaufman for IndieWire.

Fullmetal Alchemist: You can read an article about Hiromu Arakawa by Caitlin Donovan for The Mary Sue, and another on the struggle between science and religion in Fullmetal Alchemist by Joseph Manduke IV for The Artifice.

Today's connection

Homunculi are small human or humanoid creatures that are commonly associated with alchemy. Allison Schulnik's works include homunculi, and the artist was featured in an exhibition titled Homunculi. The opening image of The Devil's Backbone, a foetus in a glass jar, references homunculi. The Homunculi are the primary antagonists in Fullmetal Alchemist

Question of the day

Which artworks about alchemy would you recommend?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Shadow of Memories, a video game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo. The protagonist of Shadow of Memories is revived by a character called Homunculus.

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)

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