The Hopeful Escape segment of Animation at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival is a strong group indeed. These examples all demonstrate the theme of escape and this subject can be clearly identified in each instance. There are a diverse range of genres represented within this section, making it difficult to choose highlights as they all have a very different impact. I have selected my examples based on the films that resonated with me the most, again all are exceptional but these three stood out for me personally.
France – Paul Autric, Quentin Camus, Léa Georges, Maryka Laudet, Zoé Sottiaux, Corentin Yyergniaux (2018)
A dialogue free, fully computer-generated animation that initially centres around a couple on a romantic camping holiday. When one of them accidently kills a woodland creature, the two humans are hunted down for revenge with hilarious results.
Wild Love is extremely and consistently funny, mainly due to the fantastic use of comedic timing. The accident that ignites the fuse of revenge (by some crazed furry animals no less) features a jump scare that is both comedic and shocking. This shock factor continues throughout and this certainly is not a child friendly animation, blood, gore and dismembered bodies make for a graphic experience. The animation is colourful and great to watch as it lures the viewer into a false sense of security before the extreme content surfaces.
Outrageously funny, brilliantly paced and great fun. The best 7 minutes I had today.
Argentina (2019) – Pedro Casavecchia
This impactful film shows the effects of abuse on one young boy as he is triggered into performing acts of intense violence following his mother’s death.
With a central boxed image nightmarishly flickering to life to show a stop motion family, with characters appearing as if little figurines from a train set featuring no dialogue of any kind. This film makes for disturbing and difficult viewing as the central character experiences abuse, and then following crisis administers his pain and hatred back to both humans and animals whilst experiencing terrifying visions and flashbacks.
Shot with a murky colour pallet and featuring a hauntingly guttural score this short film is difficult to shake. The violence committed by the unnamed boy is graphic as it is heinous in this powerful piece and the mood lingers with you long after it has finished.
France (2018) – Ludovic Houplain
Beginning with the camera facing a dead-end sign, the point of view shot reverses from the back of an unseen vehicle down a wide motorway whilst driving past iconic images, people and historical moments all animated in a sharp 2-dimensional style.
Such iconic moments of our time such as the rising popularity of the
internet, art and pop culture, the porn industry and Trump’s presidency amongst many others are included. The viewers POV is driven, mounted to the back of a truck through recognisable images from the past and present. This short film is crammed full of identifiable references and images and really needs to be seen multiple times to be fully appreciated. With famous speeches from famed historical individuals playing loudly as you roll through the hugely detailed environment of colour and references.
It is when the vehicle comes to a stop that a message is delivered and adds to the nuance of the piece leaving a resonance and inspires you to think about things on a deeper level, such as environment, censorship, politics etc. If this short film set out to inspire a thought process, it is a success in my book.