The Night of Animation
“Le Festival du Court Métrage” is a festival of short films, which took place between 18th and 23rd October 2011 in France, in the city of Lille. There were competitions and prizes to be won for the best short films and, although this is of great interest, the night of animation is one that the audience will remember. It occurred on the Saturday and was indeed an entire night of animated films that lasted from 9pm to 6am on the Sunday morning with a free breakfast included in the price of the ticket. A lot of people, including myself, were really up for staying till 6 in the morning as it was going to be an adventure but also because public transport does not start till 6.30 on Sundays. The night was separated into 3 different parts and each part contained one full-length animated film and a numerous amount of short films and music videos. The full-length animations that most people were looking forward to were Fantastic Mr. Fox, directed by Wes Anderson and in second place Lascars, by Albert Pereira Lazaro.
It occurred at the Theatre Sebastopol in Lille where people were queuing up from 9pm and already one could feel that the atmosphere was festive and lively. I was surprised that even the bouncers and the staff were very pleasant and friendly. You could tell that the people present were really there to enjoy themselves and ready to watch a long series of short animated films. Once inside the theatre it was difficult to grab a seat as you had to climb over other rows of seats to get to the best seat with the best view. Some people were throwing around paper airplanes and randomly making animal noises (which I was told was something from Southpark), and could have been considered as ruthless and unnecessary but it was a way of expressing the impatience of the night to commence. In a sense it was a very playful atmosphere, which went accordingly with the soiree. After each animation there was applause or booing to show appreciation.
There were quite a few short films that I will remember, including Luminaris, AH and D’une rare crudite. All of these struck me as very original and imaginative. Luminaris came out this year and was directed by Juan Pablo Zaramella. It is about a light bulb maker who creates light bulbs by chewing on little balls of glass and blowing them into a light bulb, like blowing bubbles with bubblegum. The goal of the main character is to make a huge light bulb to lighten up his life. What is interesting is the way the main character moves; he moves as if on a conveyer belt and the scenery and background is real; it is not a cartoon. I really enjoyed the idea and message behind the animation.
I was also really impressed by D’une Rare Crudite by Marion Szymczak, Émilien Davaud and Jérémy Mougel which came out in 2010. The directors of this film managed to impersonate fruits and vegetables by giving them faces, making them very expressive like human beings. From their fictional facial expressions they show sadness. The whole film is filmed very slowly to depict how nature lives and grows. It is a beautiful animation showing how love and feelings exists within nature as well. It questions whether facial expression is needed to understand one another and to communicate.
On another level, AH by Sung Hwan Lee, which came out this year, humanises still objects; Lego blocks. However he does not do this by putting faces on them but rather by constructing human-made things in Lego and the sounds that humans make in the city.
There were also a lot of Usavich anime which had a mixture of views; some people really liked it and laughed loudly whereas other people, like myself, just didn’t understand them.
By the 3rd part of the night you could tell that everyone was getting tired. People were drinking coffee during the break at the bar to get a boost for the last part the soiree. Once back into the theatre everything was just a little too cosy. Most people, I think, managed to stay up until the full-length film started, which was at the end, but most people didn’t manage to keep their eyes open to watch it. I had a peek and most people were sleeping! However people didn’t want to leave; they wanted their free croissant and coffee!