Born Free: A Powerful Stand Against Genocide

Born Free: A Powerful Stand Against Genocide

Show me a country where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins of buildings so tall
And I’ll show you a young land
With many reasons why
There but for fortune, go you or I
You or I

-Phil Ochs

Born Free is a new music video by M.I.A., which is foremost a starkly compelling short film directed by Romain Gavras.  Gravas is a co-founder of Kourtrajmé, an art and filmmaking collective in Paris known for provocative explorations of contemporary social issues.  Born Free is the harrowing tale of a company of shock troops in an unnamed American city that is rounding up “ginger” headed children and adolescents, and transporting them to a desolate brushland for execution.

The film provides a startling metaphor for  the very real pictures we see in ongoing news coverage of murderous violence occurring in places where we don’t actually live.  But in our current political atmosphere, with the increasing influence of right-wing groups advocating ever-more draconian social policies, those images are  rapidly coming home to America.

Born Free: A Powerful Stand Against Genocide

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The Hand of the Masters: A Steampunk Version of The French Revolution

The Hand of the Masters: A Steampunk Version of The French Revolution

La Main des Maîtres (The Hand of the Masters) is a five-minute animated short film by three students from the French Georges Méliès School: Vivien Chauvet, Adrien Toupet and Clément Delatre.  The film won the 2009 Strasbourg International Film Festival (France) Best Animation Award.  It takes graphic inspiration from early 20th century’s Art Nouveau and Victorian styles, and from those influences, everything went to Steampunk.  The film tells the story of working class people and their struggles during the industrial revolution.  In this Steampunk version of the French Revolution, Chari and Ico, two young members of the working class, try to give meaning to their existences.

The Hand of the Masters: A Steampunk Version of The French Revolution

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Logorama Wins the 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film

Logorama Wins the 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film

Logorama is an award-winning, provocative and daring animated short film from the French H5 design collective, directed by François Alaux.  The film screened this year as an Official Selection at The Sundance Festival, and it has now won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Logorama Wins the Oscar: Thank You Comments by Nicolas Schmerkin, Producer

Logorama: A Hard-Boiled Heist Flick With An Earth-Shattering Twist!

Logorama is an award-winning, provocative and daring animated short film from the French H5 design collective.  The film screened earlier this year as an Official Selection at The Sundance Festival, and it has now won the 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.  The film takes the viewer on an entertaining, violent, profane, action-packed caper set in a world comprised entirely of well-known corporate logos and iconic mascots.  How familiar are the stars of this film?  Well, an evil Ronald McDonald embarks upon a shooting spree on a street overflowing with 7-Elevens, U-Haul trucks, Wal-Marts and Pizza Huts.   The Michelin Men are bumbling, foul-mouthed cops on his trail, and Bob’s Big Boy picks his nose and flings it on an unsuspecting victim.

But make no mistake, Logorama is a cleverly executed critique of our times.  Our world is fueled with the signatures of commerce and consumption, where everyday symbols are imprinted in our collective memories, nagging away on the subconscious, hand in pocket and ready to draw money from our wallets.  It is within this context that H5 go far beyond a simple exercise in artistic defiance.  This is the beauty of their work: they transgress the graphic codes of our everyday experience.  They place them within a completely different context, which sufficiently sparks considerable food for thought.

Logorama: A Hard-Boiled Heist Flick With An Earth-Shattering Twist!

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Bric à Brac: A Tragicomedy of Two Raggedy Scrap-Iron Automatons

Bric à Brac: A Tragicomedy of Two Raggedy Scrap-Iron Automatons

I’m strong to the finish,
’Cause I eats me spinach,
I’m Popeye the sailor man!

Bric à Brac is an engaging 4-minute animated short film by the French filmmakers Emeline Degand and Maud Bourotte, who are two students at the EESA (now École Georges Méliès).  The cardboard, stop-motion animation tells the bittersweet story of two little robot-like thingees, who are made out of spare parts (as is everything around them).  The rhythms and poppy facial expression changes are awesome, and the two scrap-metal automatons really seem to enjoy experimenting with the musical capabilities of their bodies.  But very sadly, one ends up turning into an ecstatic Whirling Dervish, tragically getting much too carried away!

Bric à Brac: A Tragicomedy of Two Raggedy Scrap-Iron Automatons

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Logorama: A Hard-Boiled Heist Flick With An Earth-Shattering Twist!

Logorama: A Hard-Boiled Heist Flick With An Earth-Shattering Twist!

Logorama is an award-winning, provocative and daring animated short film from the French H5 design collective, directed by François Alaux.  The film won the Prix Kodak at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, was an Official Selection at The 2010 Sundance Festival and won the 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.

The film takes the viewer on an entertaining, violent, profane, action-packed caper set in a world comprised entirely of well-known corporate logos and iconic mascots.  How familiar are the stars of this film?  Well, an evil Ronald McDonald embarks upon a shooting spree on a street overflowing with 7-Elevens, U-Haul trucks, Wal-Marts and Pizza Huts. The Michelin Men are bumbling, foul-mouthed cops on his trail, and Bob’s Big Boy picks his nose and flings it on an unsuspecting victim.

But make no mistake, Logorama is a cleverly executed critique of our times.  Our world is fueled with the signatures of commerce and consumption, where everyday symbols are imprinted in our collective memories, nagging away on the subconscious, hand in pocket and ready to draw money from our wallets.  It is within this context that H5 go far beyond a simple exercise in artistic defiance.  This is the beauty of their work: they transgress the graphic codes of our everyday experience.  They place them within a completely different context, which sufficiently sparks considerable food for thought.

Logorama: A Hard-Boiled Heist Flick With An Earth-Shattering Twist!

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The Grey Dress in New York: Private Longings for Love and Desire

The Grey Dress in New York: Private Longings for Love and Desire

The Grey Dress in New York is an intriguing, captivating short experimental art film by Pierre St-Jacques, which has been screened at art and film festivals around the world. The film is loosely based on Alain Robbe-Grillet’s novel Project for a Revolution in New York.  Robbe-Grillet’s novel (as well as many of his films) exploits pornographic motifs and the imagery of potential sexual violence.  The Grey Dress in New York focuses on short moments of longing for love and and the need to desire.  A woman in her apartment is getting ready to go out, she is ironing her grey dress.  A man comes up the stairs, presumably to meet her, but this is not certain. The style is similar to that in Robbe-Grillet’s book, one of elipses and repeating patterns, and because of those structures we are never quite certain what the intentions of the characters are.

The central theme of The Grey Dress in New York is one of longings for desire.  Desire for the other and also for the self; each character is very self possessed and in many ways very full of flourish. The film is ultimately a test of desire for the viewer, who sees the story evolve and builds certain expectations that are as much a part of the story as is the main narrative thread. The surreal film The Grey Dress in New York is presented below, as well as the trailer for Alain Robbe-Grillet’s darkly dreamlike film, Last Year at Marienbad (1961).

The Grey Dress in New York: Private Longings for Love and Desire

Alain Robbe-Grillet: Last Year at Marienbad (1961) Trailer

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