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This viral video captures 2016’s existential despair in 75 seconds, and it’s sort of beautiful

It’s paradoxically satisfying.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

As years go, there have been ones vastly more popular than 2016. So as we move into the final months of this difficult year, it’s no surprise that this viral GIF has surfaced to capture the cultural malaise of the moment in one poignant image:

The GIF in question is actually taken from a smart animated short film called Unsatisfying. Produced by French animation studio Parallel, the film is a 75-second montage of some of life’s most universally disappointing moments, set to the tragic sounds of Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings. Warning: What you’re about to see may cause residual frustration.

On its Vimeo account, Parallel notes that the studio wanted to capture “the frustrating, annoying, disappointing little things of everyday life, that are so painful to live or even to watch.”

Having succeeded admirably, Parallel has turned its goal outward, hosting an “Unsatisfying” competition that lets participants submit their own videos. The challenge is open until November 15, after which the studio will share selected entries on the competition’s Vimeo account.

So if you’ve ever wanted to go forth and capture the innate futility of life on camera, now’s your big moment.

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