I’m frustrated with the French, but not in the way you’d be thinking. It’s not the entire country, but a few of the filmmakers in this edition of Microcinema’s Independent Exposure. Curator Patrick Kwiatkowski has come up with an admirable and daring program: 10 short films ranging from experimental to narrative and back again – all from the land that started the New Wave movement and loves Jerry Lewis. Nevertheless, it’s the experimental shorts that are bound to have you perplexed and nearly catatonic.
Lacan Dalida ^ *** ^ Directed by Pascal Lievre
This is basically French karaoke with silhouettes. While the words aren’t likely to be understood (words are on the bottom right of the screening, thus leaving out any chance of subtitles), it’s fun to try to figure out what the voices might remind you of. For example, the silhouette on the left sounds like a French version of Kyle from “South Park”, though singing a bit faster. With the one on the right, you can take your pick between Jaws (Richard Kiel) when he speaks in “Moonraker” or Fezzik (Andre the Giant) in “The Princess Bride”. Supposedly, there is a point to this, described on the website as “the articulation of language structure between popular music and the words of one of the 20th century’s greatest thinker”. In this case, it’s more fun with the voice thing.
Tu n’es rien qu’image Numerique ^ ** ^ Directed by Nicola Dulion
Let the frustration begin. There’s fast-moving black and white imagery of a park bench coupled with pictures of eyes, skulls, bugs, naked bodies, and footage later of a guy in pain. That’s also combined with lines of text running from top to bottom later on. The statement trying to be made of this one (courtesy of the website) is: “You are nothing but a digital image.” Oh, I’m nothing but a digital image? I’ll tell you what you are, you piece of……
Camille ^ **** ^ Directed by Ben Hayflick
There’s much symbolism to be found in this narrative short as Camille (Sarah Desage) and her soon-to-be-former lover Etienne are driving on a winding road, what I believe symbolizes the twists and turns that this short film will take in its 12 minutes. Things aren’t going well for both parties and Etienne complains that Camille keeps touching her ring which her other former lover Tomas gave her. He knows exactly where her mind is. Distraught at one point over finding Etienne in bed with another woman, she leaves, thinking that going back to a former love is the cure for current problems. There’s not much dialogue to be found and that’s good because the real focus here is on Camille while she thinks about what to do and considers many things, such as childhood and how a bedroom can become a museum for your childhood, filled with books you used to read, among other things. It’s not bad.
Gouille et Gar ^ ****1/2 ^ Directed by Philippe Gamer
WOOOO!!!! From the country that brought you the world’s foremost “fartist”, Le Petomane, they now bring you…a puking gargoyle. Led on by good computer animation, we find two stone gargoyles atop the Notre Dame church. All’s quiet until we hear some rumbling in the bowels of the church fast reaching up to where the gargoyles are sitting and suddenly, the one on the right just starts projectile vomiting as if fireworks went off. This is so cool because at one point, the vomiting gets so intense, that the church is nearly knocked off its foundation, but settles down again. The dialogue between the two includes a suggestion that Quasimodo likes to take a piss in the gutter before ringing the bell. Funny stuff!
Superhighway of Light ^ **1/2 ^ Directed by Ratsi
Travel on the waves of light, man! Stare into a lightbulb long enough and you see the way the light curves a little. In “Superhighway of Light”, that light has been stretched out like taffy. Cool visuals.
Oversight ^ *** ^ Directed by Gerard Cairaschi
Give this one just a tiny bit of time and you’ll soon see what’s going on here. We see the swimming shadow of a fish, pictures of plant life flashing on the screen, etc., accompanied by music every now and then. There’s also a woman, but what’s the deal here? Is she lying on the ground? Is she dead? As it turns out, it seems that she’s sleeping and from what I could gather, we’re deep into her dream state in this one.
Nodal 3 ^ ** ^ Directed by Ai-HZ
A guy stands in front of a mirror, mugging, smoking, and jumping. You can see this three times as the screen is split into three squares, each showing this guy doing a different activity, though the one in the middle favors his smoking.
Rien ne va plus ^ ***1/2 ^ Directed by Julie-Christine Fortier
Spin around in a circle really fast, and you’re bound to get dizzy. Or you could try what Julie-Christine Fortier filmed. Someone sits down in a chair (red swirling vortex cap on their head) and begins spinning around really fast. It creates such a cool effect, as the chair and this person spin around faster and faster and soon become a crazy blur.
Soeurtilege ^ ** ^ Directed by Ai-HZ In a sanctuary house, MIMI 4 years old, YAEL 11 years old, AYA a young Japanese, and NIYNI the cat get ready to sleep. The parents are away and there’s freedom. But who is this indiscrete eye? That’s the plot of this short and we see all four of them doing various things. The director took time to also draw various things in the film, such as question marks over the cat that eventually fade away.
Abba Mao ^ *** ^ Directed by Pascal Lievre
NOW I get it!!! I wondered who in the heck Abba Mao was and director Pascal Lievre pulled a neat trick. The song that Lievre sings while putting on red makeup, which matches the red background, is a combination of music by the band Abba and an excerpt from “Quotation of Chairman Mao Zedong” – Chapter XXXII, “Culture and Art” – Beijing, 1966. Coolness!