Thinking About Being Lost – Ekki Múkk and Existential Crisis

Just wanted to share this strange but beautiful short film Sigur Rós Film Experiment No. 10 Ekki Múkk by Nick Abrahams (2012) and my thoughts on seeing it as metaphor for finding a sense of direction, for finding our way.

I don’t want to give too much away here. I mean, really, the film is less than ten minutes long and breathtaking, so watch it. The Man (Game of Thrones and Love/Hate’s Aidan Gillen) is lost in a rural field.

You’d think that these days you couldn’t get lost. But you can.

Despite how close we all are together now and GPS, it is still possible to become lost in an unfamiliar setting. Something about this film makes the Man appear so small and vulnerable.

He comes upon a snail (voiced by Shirley Collins), exquisitely photographed (enough to make me a bit squeamish), who agrees to help him find his way. He gingerly places the snail upon his shoulder and continues through the field. We see him turning his ear to listen to her.

The Man ends up in the forest, and turns to and fro, seemingly more lost than when he started. The forest is dark, and we hear distant screams. “Why do things always have to change? I don’t want to be on my own again.” As if in answer, an injured fox is there in front of him. It growls at him, and he is afraid. The wise snail, who refers to the Man as “Little One,” tells him to be brave.

Now we see the Man again in a field, carrying the injured fox, the snail still upon his shoulder. It is a comfort–to him and to us–that he is needed by the fox (as he believes he needs the snail) and that he is not entirely alone.

We next see the Man asleep against a tree, the fox in his arms and then beside him decomposing in time lapse. The snail tells the man to sleep and that she will likely be gone when he awakes. But not to fear. He will find his way.

Now the Man is awake, the camera close on his downcast eyes, and we hear the snail tell him “Look around.” He raises his eyes as she continues “You will find your own way home.” As he looks, we see the sky alight with innumerable stars. The Man seems even smaller, dwarfed by the vastness of the universe. The hint of his smile leaves us with a feeling of optimism as the screen fades to black. (The ethereal music helps.)

He is still lost and alone. In fact, he is more or less right back where he started. And did I mention that he, like all of us, seems so small and insignificant? However, he is and we are confident that he will find his own unique way.

On this journey that seemingly leads nowhere, what way are we to find? Well, that is the question of the existential crisis, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s not about being lost at all but about being free to make the choices that intimidate us, that make us fearful. But those same choices are the ones that lead us to ourselves and upon our own unique journey.

You are free and that is why you are lost. –Franz Kafka

Be brave, Little One. As vast and unconcerned as the universe may be, this journey has meaning because we choose to give it meaning. We are free to make the choices that lead us out of the dark forest, that lead us home, that lead us to a friend to comfort us. We are free to question whether we are lost or simply finding our own unique way.


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