Balance [1989]

Director : Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein

Story : Five identical man, who are only differentiated by various numbers drawn on their backs, stand together on a floating platform. The can only move in sincron as to always keep the balance. Everything goes smoothly until one of them fishes out a heavy trunk from beyond under, now everyone wants the box for themselves, but balance can’t be kept this way.

What I Liked :

– that’s gonna be a funny statement, but those figures looked like mini Voldemorts in hell, I just couldn’t stop making allegories with him in my head

– the animation is a nice little metaphor for our existence, and the Lauenstein brothers managed to transpose this idea in a very minimalistic manner which makes more than easy for everybody to understand it

– well as I said, it’s a great social commentary, the more you think about the more new ideas and angles to understand it pops in your head, at one moment I started examining it from the perspective of group dynamics

What I Didn’t Like :

– everywhere I read about this the same words were always listed next to its title : surreal, genius, dark, satirical, perfect, powerful and so on; don’t get me wrong it is a great animated short, but the fact that I hadn’t read one negative thing about it put me off a bit, especially since it didn’t manage to captivate me that much; what I’m trying to say is I think it’s loved more on the social pages than in reality.

Interesting facts :

– The climactic “balancing platform” sequence from National Treasure: Book of Secrets was directly inspired by “Balance”, which is mentioned in its credits. (Wikipedia)

– Nine acclaimed directors (or directing teams) were given a different track from The Breathtaking Blue, Alphaville’s album and asked to make a short movie inspired by the song; Christoph & Wolfgang Lauensteain’s video for “Middle of the Riddle” was later retitled Balance and won the 1989 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film (albeit with different music). (Wikipedia)

Final Note :

3 out of 4

Online :


2 thoughts on “Balance [1989]

  1. I thought this was an interesting movie. I agree that it was overall an interesting social commentary. Now that I thought about it, it’s interesting this short was made when it was, when East and West Germany were in the process of reunifying.

    • yes, you can take it as allegory for German society and Soviet Communism at its fall. The five man are the same – in communism everyone is equal, anonymity is desired, and the comes the music box, which van be interpreted as a radio which brought the news, the music of the “free” world. It’s a dash of hope and possibility in a closed system.
      It reminded me very much of a 1952 short, Neighbours :

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