Durian suffers from a condition where his face displays the opposite of what he’s feeling — he laughs when he’s sad and cries when he’s happy.
He also insists on saying “eggplant” instead of “cheese” when he has his picture taken.
He lives a tough life where he’s constantly misunderstood. But slowly, he comes to accept who he is and embrace what makes him unique.
The animation was partly inspired by the language barrier Yangzi She, the filmmaker and UCLA graduate student, encountered when translating her scripts from Chinese to English.
“So many subtle emotions and messages were lost in translation,” She said. “I didn’t want my story to be too specifically about two certain languages, so then I thought about expressions, the universal language we all speak.”