“Travel is beneficial, it activates the imagination.
All the rest is disappointment and weariness.
Our journey is entirely imaginary.
That is its strength.
It progresses from life to death.
[……] You simply have to close your eyes.
It's on the other side of life.”
(Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Voyage au bout de la nuit, 1932).
“Hoblio” is the story of a journey, the inevitable one that each of us must make in our lives. We don’t get to choose the luggage our travelling companions, or the destination, but ultimately, it’s an exploration of the soul.
The path, encounters, and questions life asks us don’t change, only the answers. The answers belong to us, even for those questions that were never asked.
The film’s Opening phrase from Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda implies that the journey is a circular one resulting in a higher Self. There is no retreat, only new beginnings.
“I believe that one travels so as to eventually return.” writes Andrej Tarkovskij “Man can never reach back to the point of origin…. What we are we carry with us. We bring with us the house of our soul, as does a turtle with its shell”
We only understand this at the end of the journey, when our suitcase is lightened enough that it will eventually disappear. It’s only then we realize that we didn’t need the baggage, that since the beginning “we carry with us the dwelling place of our soul”.
This is what filmmaker Piero Tonin conveys, condensing in seven minutes a complete synaesthetic experience of sounds, graphics, colors and images. "I thought of beginning the animated film with the Sahasrara chakra, the seventh major chakra – says the filmmaker – which symbolizes liberation and union with the Absolute, the central themes of the film. The violet color that characterizes this chakra recurs in the moments when Hoblio’s burden is lightened and illusory characters that he meets disappear.”
The journey becomes symbolically clearer as he moves forward, black frames dilating his time on the path, the dark shadow of death banished by the liberating finale.
The filmmaker dedicates this reflection ‘to all of us.’ His use of subtle imagery transformed into radiance, the elemental shapes joyous use of colors and an ingenuity of design takes a sophisticated idea and makes it accessible.
Precision and clarity are fundamental traits of Piero Tonin’s vocabulary. As is his uncanny ability to create a visceral, instinctive visual language. Nothing escapes the magnifying lens of his creativity, but with a gentle touch, as only poetry can do.
(Many thanks to Michele Chubirka for the translation)