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The Ocean Duck (2022)

Heba (Huda Razzak/Israa Zainab) visits her sick grandmother, Bebe (Jeed Saddy), in the hospital. While she’s visiting the hospital begins to flood, and while this event is tragic–it brings back wonderful memories for Heba. As Heba relives these incredible moments in her life, ones that she shared with her grandmother, Rumi Masnavi’s poem about The Ocean Duck comes to life–beautifully illustrating Heba and Bebe’s past. In this magical short film, tragedy turns to beauty–and the importance of a silver lining is realized.

The Ocean Duck is very much a film about understanding where you came from. The reality is that our experiences often differ (even if only slightly) from those around us. We can’t always know what others are dealing with, and we can’t always understand exactly where they came from–but we are tasked with having to understand ourselves, where we came from, and who and what we are. That’s a tall task, but The Ocean Duck implores us to look to our pasts, locate the pieces of our lives that have shaped us, and understand that, even if those instances do appear small, they play a role in who we’ve become. Directors Razzak (also writer) and My Anh Ngo, along with Writer Toby Osborne, create something that is easily accessible. We don’t all have a story about a flood or a story about baking a cake–but we all have something that has shaped us, and this group does a wonderful job of capturing this and showcasing it on screen.

This film is a wonderful blend of genres. It combines fantasy, drama, and comedy to create something relatable–and each part is folded nicely into one another to create a symphony of emotion. Young Heba (Zainab) is tasked with creating a level of comedy, which is incredibly difficult. She’s essentially the only source of comedy in a film full of emotion, passion, honesty, and pain–and the level of comedy that she employs throughout The Ocean Duck is more than just funny, it’s beautiful. Zainab’s delivery is impeccable, and the way in which the young character is written allows her to shine brightly.

Much of The Ocean Duck is about balance. It’s about understanding that good and bad often exist on the same plane–never fully isolated from one another. It tells us that in our darkest moments laughter can be the best medicine. These delicate balances exist in every facet of our lives, and The Ocean Duck presents this in such an incredible way. Much like it represents the balance in our lives, it shows us a physical balance as well. The tones on screen often create a balance as well, one that simply strengthens the point of the film–and being able to see that makes The Ocean Duck even more accessible.

Life is a delicate balance, each and every part of it. It’s impossible to live a successful life without balance, and while The Ocean Duck says so many important things, I believe that this is the most prominent message in the film. It does a wonderful job of conveying this to viewers, as there is a wonderful balance present within the film as well. This beautiful marriage of genres allows the film to pique the interest of a wide-ranging audience, and the incredible animation brings each and every sentiment to life with great poise. The Ocean Duck is a sensational representation of real life, how to manage it, and how to understand (and appreciate) where you’ve come from and how much you’ve grown.

Directed by Huda Razzak & My Anh Ngo.

Written by Huda Razzak & Tony Osborne.

Starring Israa Zainab, Jeed Saddy, & Huda Razzak.




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