Cipka: The Animated Short Film About Masturbation You Need To Watch
Written, directed and some animation done by Renata Gąsiorowska, Cipka or Pussy when translated from Polish to English is a thrilling, hilarious animated short film released in 2016.
The synopsis tell us that this short is about “ A young girl spends the evening alone at home. She decides to have some sweet solo pleasure session, but not everything goes according to plan.”
I initially stumbled upon this film thanks to Pussypedia, a free, bilingual, inclusive encyclopedia of the pussy* available online. ( *they propose a new gender-and-organ-inclusive use of the word.) I was a Kickstarter campaign backer and I was stocked to see their site with all its resources and links finally launch, I was exploring their masturbation tag and found this glorious gem, Cipka and knew I had to wax poetically about it.
The film starts to our female protagonist, chilling at home — the opening shots are of her with a cup of tea and making the motions of stirring, back and forth. It’s a motion that she’ll do again and again in another way later that’s much more pleasing. After mindlessly scrolling through what’s on the tv, out girl slips into a more pleasurable activity: some “me time”, some self care of the highest form, a solo session to unwind but she keeps getting interrupted and the day just gets more weirder.
While exploring her body, our girl takes her hand away for a minute to examine there is this really cool scene of all the blood vessels (and nerve endings?)looking like vines or branches, being represented as roads with various little vehicles going to and fro. It’s a neat visual of showing how complex the female body is — how everything is connected but also how distraction can take you out of masturbating, of getting the job done as it is revealed that her window is open so she gets up and closes it. The art style presented here in the animation is simple, minimalist in a way yet that doesn’t prove to be an eyesore. It doesn’t distract from the narrative or the action happening.
A very special guest makes an appearance around the 3:28 mark in the film and effectively steals the show. After the initial shock of its arrival happens it guides the rest of the narrative in one that reveals that a confrontation is needed to reassert that this pleasure, this time for pleasure, this host enjoying this pleasure hasn’t invited anyone. It’s is for her and her alone, no one else is invited, at least for now. The confrontation also places a thread of consent into the mix for the narrative’s message, especially since the intruder appears to be male.
I really love the attention to detail in the sound department here: there’s certainly scenes that shine like when a certain something strays and runs away, our protagonist’s eyes almost seem to want to zero in and a clear laser sound is heard to a comedic effect. And all the sound effects that we would normally categorize as mundane: footsteps, door slams, water drips and the like are included and make the experience watching much a much more immerse film as things escalate the longer and longer you watch. The work folks do involving sound and audio in the film industry is often overlooked and underappreciated, even on smaller scales like shorts so I challenge you to watch this short again, blindfolded or covering your eyes to really get an understanding of this particular piece of this film and how complimentary it becomes.
The ending of the film comes with vibrant colors and fantastic shapes and pieces (and a really beautiful selection of music!) coming together on the screen to signify a climax. With a final shot of our protagonist floating down from her high, sated to lay naked on a couch, Cipka proves to be a hilarious yet moving animated film that teaches us that sometimes we women, need that alone time, and we need to listen to our bodies and relearn how to communicate with them.
It’s never too late to learn what feels good and what makes your body sing and you knowing how to do that, how to be your own captain of that ship means smooth sailing. And doing so without shame, without trauma or any kind of blight for women that takes this beautiful experience and makes it for someone else. On her inspiration for the short, the director has been quoted from an interview featured on The Criterion Channel, saying: ” I thought this could be a funny, relatable erotic comedy but also a more general story about a woman’s liberation.”
Watch Renata Gąsiorowska’s Cipka if you love animation, films directed by women and pieces that speak to women’s agency and existing for themselves.
Watch Renata Gąsiorowska’s Cipka if you want a depiction of female sexual pleasure on-screen, if you want a good laugh and most importantly don’t take yourself too seriously — this certainly can be seen as educational for some!
Director: Renata Gąsiorowska
Animation: Renata Gąsiorowska, Agnieszka Borowa
Sound: Ewa Bogusz, Wiesław Nowak
Music: Volodymyr Antoniv
Artistic supervisors: Joanna Jasińska, Mariusz Wilczyński
Production: National Film School in Lodz
see the short film here.
See more of Renata Gasiorowska, a animator and cartoonist from Cracow, Poland here.