An animation showcase: MIAF 2014 review – 3 Days in Paris: New 2

Sahara Wilson 15.07.14 French animationFrench animators are currently riding the crest of a wave, regularly winning international awards for their creations.

So when Malcolm Turner, director of the 2014 Melbourne International Animation Festival, made a whirlwind three-day visit to 24 Parisian animation studios and brought over 200 of the best films to Australia, he had an enjoyable but challenging gig selecting the crème de la crème to showcase.

Sahara Wilson 15.07.14 French animationFor me, watching his choices was like dining at an exciting banquet.
Each dish created by a different, celebrated French chef; each unique and varied in mood, style, technique and emotional impact and yet, so French!

I attended the ‘3 Days in Paris: New #2’ showcase. All made since 2012, these highly engaging films were designed for an adult/ young adult audience. Many tell a story, without dialogue, of a character seeking meaning to survive, quite often appealing to our empathy.

For me, highlights included:

Partir’ (‘Leaving’): Joanne Lurie’s innovative use of street animation brings incredible warmth to this romantic story between two figures.

‘Mr Lune’: hot off the 2014 press from a team of under-25 year-olds at Miyu Productions. Lonely Mr Lune gazes longingly towards mysterious planet Earth, especially when another object appears.

‘Dip N’ Dance’: a hilarious romp as a spoilt Frenchman in his luxurious baroque apartment learns the moral message from the novel ‘Fight Club’ that “The things you own end up owning you”.

Le Vagabond de St Marcel’ (‘The Wanderer of St Marcel’): a seemingly innocent homeless man finds comfort in his night-time home in the deserted Paris metro and in his journeys into the worlds of the station’s advertising billboards – but how secure is it?

‘Still More Changes’: the only truly abstract film in the group, it’s worth seeing if you like exploring cerebral, philosophical questions using a Monty-Pythonesque cut-out animation medium.

Sahara Wilson 10.07.14 french animationI was also lucky enough to attend the ‘3 Days in Paris: Historical’ showcase.

Highlighting what animation can achieve that ordinary film cannot, each of these captivating shorts was nominated by their creators as a film pivotal to the studio’s success in some way.

All pieces represented recent “history”, between 1990 and 2010. All were wonderful, but here’s my summary of favourites.

‘Clinic’: this nightmare of a man clearly frightened of medical specialists is hilarious. One highlight – a surgeon at his desk, throwing syringes at his dartboard.

‘Jean Francois’: a moving piece about a champion swimmer, haunted by childhood memories.

‘Do Penguins Fly?’: a photographer’s patience is tested by sassy penguins in freezing Antarctica.

Le Balayeur’: a grumpy old streetsweeper has amazing abilities in disposing of rubbish, but what happens when he decides help someone?

Sahara Wilson 15.07.14 French animation
‘The Crab’s Revolution’: a hilarious classic, using well-disguised complex animation techniques, where a crab tells us about how his kind found direction in life.

‘Maaz’: a dreamlike masterpiece, technically years ahead of its time: is he simply trying to escape the deep, dark caverns or is he on a quest to find something?

Les Chiens Isoles’ (‘Lonely Dogs’): life as a French foreign worker can be lonely on an oil rig, so you cherish your friendships.

‘Café Allonge’: stunning animation tells this tale of a frustrated café customer’s fantasies going wild after a beautiful woman appears.

If you love colourful, emotional rides, immerse yourself in French animation, in all its delicate and piquant flavours. I’m now a certified French animation addict!

Read our next review. Discover more >>

Image credits:
1. Lonely Dogs still via MIAF.
2. La Bete by Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka still via Vimeo.
3. Dip N’ Dance by Hugo Cierznak via Vimeo.
4. Still more changes by Barbara Malleville, Benoit Guillaume still via MIAF.
5. The Crab’s Revolution by Arthur de Pins, metronomicproduction via YouTube.
6. Café Allonge by Maxime Paccalet, Pierre Razetto and Dimitri Cohen-Tanugi, Kawa Paris via Vimeo.

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