Amelia is an animated short film that expresses a personal journey of finding the importance of the balance between giving and receiving. “Giving is better than taking” is a common concept people are taught since young age in Asian culture; however, if there is no common ground in giving and receiving the positive notion of helping others can become negative for the giver.
There are several elements in the film indicate that life is an infinite journey of self-improvement. Amelia starts and ends at the same place, with different quotes, while her mental state changes along with her energy. Sunrise and sunset also alludes to the energy level of the main character.
The film is conveyed solely through visual representation without any narrative scripting to allow it to act as a mirror for the audiences’ own experiences. As Amelia experiences the consequences of her actions, the lack of dialog allows the audience to relate her struggles to their own experiences, bringing the emotional distance between the character and audience closer.
Aristotle called the balance between excess and deficiency the Golden Mean. Buddha called it The Middle Path. In both cases, these philosophers considered it something to aspire to, not just because it was ethically sound but also because it was challenging. Indeed, many people struggle with such a balance. Some take too much with little reciprocity. Others give until they are exhausted.
In this case, selflessness is the deficiency and Amelia needs to recognize that deficit in order to achieve the balance necessary to survive. The circular concept of the narrative highlights the recursive nature of self-assessment: we become aware of ourselves and the consequences of our actions by engaging in acts that are suboptimal.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Animated films--Themes, motives; Animation (Cinematography); Computer animation--Themes, motives; Computer animation--Technique; Short films--Themes, motives; Short films--Technique; Helping behavior--Drama
Visual Communication Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CAD)
Hsieh, Emma Yun-chieh, "Amelia: An animated short film about giving and receiving help" (2018). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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