Is your comfort zone really still yours when you choose to share it with someone else? Does comfort equal happiness and is the present dependent on the past? These are some of the important questions raised by Filip Diviak’s 8-minute movie My Name is Edgar and I Have a Cow. With its boldly expressive style and rough hand-drawn strokes which bring sharpness to otherwise delicate watercolor textures, the Czech-Slovak co-production shines with its heartfelt humor and attention to detail.
We see the world through the eyes of Edgar, a simple man living a simple life, surrounded by his favorite possessions. We then follow his personal transformation when he decides to take care of another living being. The character lists his likes as fast cars, his mother, his (deceased) grandma and food, each of these things connected to individual objects which Edgar keeps in his apartment.
When Edgar visits the “Food Factory” (i.e., a slaughterhouse), he witnesses the birth of a calf. When he is told that the newborn is set to become schnitzel, he decides to take it home with him. He subsequently has to rethink his personal space, but that’s not all: he also realizes that his dreams are only possible when they are shared with this fast-developing animal. The growth of his new friend symbolizes the growth of love and care resulting from a willingness to compromise. What is broken can always be fixed with the power of selflessness and dedication to another creature.
Diviak is also a character designer and illustrator, and this shows in his distinctive stylizations. His shapes and movements are recognizable, and they accentuate a comical approach to otherwise serious themes. The film introduces us to a cold urban landscape, takes us on Edgar’s journey of self-discovery and involves us in the difficult decision that comes with his change of scenery. We end up in quiet, vast countryside, where an endearing plot-twist transforms Edgar’s priorities. It’s a heart-warming outcome, reminding us that happiness can sometimes lie far outside of our comfort zone. A scary thought, perhaps, though less so when you’re not alone.