The Monk and the Fish by Michael Dudok de Wit

Michael Dudok de Wit came to BYU a little while back (before I was here) but my professor told us about it. He was very pleased with the eagerness of BYU student in learning and talking about spiritual cinema. This is one of his short films.

We watched this short animation in one of my classes. It was rather inspirational for me and it made me realize that in general, a person's response to a film will be greatly influenced by what they bring to the table. For instance, I was touched by this short film because I am so much like the Monk. Hunting after something that I don't full understand, but for some reason I know I must search after it. But no matter how hard I search I never seem to get any closer. It is only towards the end, when the Monk and the Fish are floating away together, do we see that if we stop and let the fish be, we will be closer than ever before, it will be on our side. I'm not saying we shouldn't search, but we should search for that perfection knowing it may not come until after. This was a huge message to me saying "take it easy! the "fish" will come.

On the other hand however, Brandon, a fellow student said he saw the fish as a temptation. That the Monk should be doing his duty and not be so addicted to this fish. I don't think there is anything wrong with his interpretation. Dudok de Wit, I believe, would encourage the dual nature of the reaction to the film. We cannot (and shouldn't try to) force a response from a film (or piece of literature, or piece of art) Art is so very often more about ourselves in relation with the thing, as opposed to the thing standing alone.


  1. Icthys- the Greek word for fish, was also used to denote Christ in early Christianity (that's where the Jesus fish bumper stickers come from....)
    The monk finds peace with the fish when he finally follows the fish. Come follow me.
    I don't know if that is an interpretation that you have considered or not, but that is what I got out of this Pixar-quality short film.
    -Klayton wrote this. Not Mandy.

  2. Yeah. I had thought about that as well. Its interesting. The animation is just astounding. So aesthetically pleasing and yet, not over abundant.