Graduation Competition 2 @ Annecy: Two Estonians and an Italian Shine
The second student competition programme of the 2018 Annecy Festival had really fine things to say about social cohesion and how you belong to whatever society you make.
The Argentinian Nicolás Petelski Meson, in the Spanish/ Estonian co-production (Politecnica de Valencia / Estonian Academy of Arts) Table Game, makes for the most entertainingly absurdist film in the programme. With an added empathy for his characters despite its premise, the film looks fresh from the table tennis court, and details in 2D animation what happens when you have nothing better to do than wait in a game of sports.
ZF has written extensively about the exquisite puppet film Inanimate by NFTS student Lucia Bulgheroni [read her interview here], but the story of a puppet who discovers her own fate still registers on the big screen, and tells eloquently that your change of surroundings may actually incur a change of your own identity.
Muteum by Äggie Pak Yee Lee (a Hong Kong student at the Estonian Academy of Arts) ostensibly plays with conventions (a teacher takes a group of mischievous children on a tour of an art gallery, but is still chilling in its orchestration of military movements of children walking in unison. Subversive art seems to be the only antidote to cruel conformity.
Another stand-out in competition, the autobiographical film Travelogue by Samuel Patthey. A young art student from Switzerland arrives for six months in Tel Aviv. Through drawing he will learn to analyse, understand and free himself from this environment and its contradictions. The fluid atmosphere of the film, and the part of the wall that each inhabitant needs to carry along with him/her, frees the film from an obligatory documented experience; it makes (even visually so) for an empathetic notebook.
A little bit short, but still potent was the French Stockholm by Supinfocom Rubika students, Victor Chavanne, Thomas Nemery, Morgane Perrin, Camille Roubinowitz and Jean-Baptiste Aziere. Here 3D computer animation uses its uncanny effect to the maximum, and the story (with echoes of Riho Unt's The Master) mixes the symbolic with personal desperation.
It should have been easier to evaluate the Losing Sight of a Longed Place by Tsz Ying Wong Ka Chun Shek, and Chun Long Wong. The film certainly shared an interesting LGBT theme and involved some fine visuals. Still, the almost unreadable English subtitles at the bottom of the screen precluded any critical contact with the film.
More competitions to come.
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