Skinned (Écorchée) by Joachim Hérissé

Skinned (Écorchée) animation short still by Joachim Hérissé

This was the first animation short for French animation director and producer  Joachim Hérissé (Komadoli Studio). As he said during the 2023 Clermont-Ferrand screening of his work, 'It's a nightmare that he wanted to bring on screen" -inspired by perennial fable tales classics of Grimm Brothers and Perrault.

In an old building, lost in the middle of the swamp, live two strange women, siamese twins by one leg. At night, the Flayed has terrifying nightmares in which she sees her sister's flesh covering her own body - Film Synopsis

'Skinned' follows the fable/horror genre quite faithfully -and less restrainingly so- yet its sense of melancholy is undeniable (elevated by the film's score by Antoine Duchêne). While Aline Bordereau's fabric-made puppets denote the close-knitted relationship that cannot be easily undone (and hurts when it is done), Simon Filliot's cinematography and the film's production design tell a different story; a longing for a future that cannot be experienced. Arguably, the best recurring shot in this otherwise unsettling film is the one of the empty boat glowingly traversing the river. This is a boat that the two sisters will never use, trapped in their identity-switching roles.

The narrative development in 'Skinned' has a few ace cards in its pocket, and its editing tries to deliberately confuse reality with wild imagination. Its ending is a fittingly surreal one, but its power lies not in the story itself, but in the sentiments expressed by the characters. The agony of being both together and separate is here expressed in precise actions (which in turn serve the stop-motion puppet character of the film). Gluttony, disgust and shock are here used to good measure to invoke the above-mentioned need to separate, yet we still stay with the characters all along. They have their own need to be loved in this wickedly outstanding film.

Watch 'Skinned' by Joachim Hérissé

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