In Tatuapé Mahal Tower, we see a life told in a miniature model landscape that blurs the lines of reality as a stop-motion figure contemplates the meaning of its existence.

Filmmakers Fernanda Salloum and Carolina Marowicz of Brazil partnered up as a directing and writing duo for this surrealist stop-motion short narrated by Uruguayan actor Daniel Hendler. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Fest in 2014 and has gone on to gain critical acclaim and play over 200 international festivals – including places like Havana, Warsaw, Atlanta, and Edinburgh.

The story twists into surreal spaces when an Argentine – Javier Juarez Garcia, who’s beyond frustrated with his normal life living in São Paolo – reveals he is a figurine who lives inside of mini architectural models. On this journey, he experiences a mental breakdown after he finds his plastic wife in his plastic bed with another plastic man. The animation, through a miniature world that includes so much painstaking detail, captures an existential crisis and the fluidity of being forced to make choices about things that are out of our hands. The art of stop-motion takes so much time to capture movement frame by frame, and it completely reinforces the film’s treatise of humanity and free will.

Tatuapé Mahal Tower received an award for best screenplay, won best film at 15 different festivals and was a Best of Vimeo Staff Pick.

Watch the entire short film here: