Learn English with the beautiful Oscar-nominated short film: A Single Life, by Job, Joris & Marieke. It’s a funny and poignant story that will surprise you.
What would you do if you could travel through time, backward and forward? Would you skip parts of your life? Of course, you wouldn’t. You’re a wise movie lover who has already watched Back to the Future, Groundhog Day, Click, and all the other time travel movies. So, you know that it’s a dangerous thing.
You’re also surrounded by mindfulness experts who keep telling you every day that you should focus your awareness on the present moment and fully enjoy it.
You might even remember Mr. Keating, played superbly by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, who encouraged his students to seize the day. “O Captain, my captain”; how could I forget your words?
So, who on earth wants to skip parts of their lives? No, there’s no way.
Not even the worst ones?
Kintsugi and Our Golden Scars
Have you heard about Kintsugi? It’s a centuries-old Japanese art of repairing broken ceramic pottery (bowls, teapots, plates) with precious metal. They use a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. They don’t try to hide the “scars” (breaks) but emphasize them. The fractures are part of the object’s history and add to its beauty.
“Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, revitalizing it with new life.”
Source: Kintsugi: The Centuries-Old Art of Repairing Broken Pottery with Gold by My Modern Met
Why am I talking about this? Because I believe that all the internal and external scars we have are part of our lives. They made us the people we are now.
- Those pregnancy stretch marks that we have on our bellies tell us that we gave birth to our children.
- Under-eye bags remind us of sleepless nights.
- Those wrinkles make us remember when we cried and laughed.
- Physical scars keep telling us that we overcame an accident or operation and we’re still alive.
- Those internal scars remind us that we suffered.
No, we cannot skip anything. Kintsugi is about accepting what life gives us.
We are full of golden scars. Look at how beautiful they are.
And now watch this wonderful short film: A Single Life (The Dutch Animation Studio; Job, Joris & Marieke).
The film is a funny and poignant story about slowing down and appreciating life as it is. It received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short and won over 40 awards in film festivals around the world.
The main character, Pia, gets a package with a mysterious vinyl record while she’s eating a pizza. She soon realizes that, with each jump of the record’s needle, she’s able to travel through time. This brilliant idea came to the filmmakers’ minds when they were students at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. They were in the dorm room listening to an ABBA record. As the vinyl skipped forward, they joked about jumping through time. They got back to this idea nearly a decade later, and A Single Life came out.
As you’ve seen, Pia couldn’t use her time travel power wisely and lost control over time and in the end over her own life, too. The melancholic voice of the singer Pien Feith warns us:
“You might think your time is never ending,
“But a single life is what you’re getting,
“And you should get it right.”
Composed by Job, under the moniker (nickname) Happy Camper, featuring Pien Feith.
Now we’re going to learn some expressions related to time, of course.
So, hurry up and learn them now! There’s no time to waste!
If you’ve liked the lesson, please share it quickly with other English learners, too.