For the French language short films at BIFF, cats, detours and natural disasters are the themes.
All three French language short films showing at BIFF 2020 are completely different in theme and in style.
There is the Australian production in French of A man and a cat (Un homme et un chat), the Malian film N’diajnemo and the French production Sororelle. Below we give you brief reviews of these films.
BIFF 2020 Short film strands/beats
BIFF has divided its short films into categories or what they call “beats”:
- Heart Beats
- Life Beats
- Mind Beats
- Off Beats
- Short beats
- Wild beats
The short films we review below screen with other films in the same “beat”.
A man and a cat (Un homme et un chat)
A man and a cat is a film from director Kevin Spink. It is a Screen Queensland Short Film Award Nominee. It’s screening in the Heart Beats short film strand at BIFF 2020.
From the opening scene in which Thomas Cocquerel’s character is giving a presentation, we are immersed into the surreal world in which this man lives. The walls of the room are covered from ceiling to floor and wall to wall in colourful post-it notes.
On arriving home he finds an angry-looking ginger cat on his doorstep, who makes itself at home upon the door being opened.
The interior of this house is perhaps just as surreal. All of the portrait prints adorning the walls are not of humans, but animals, but dressed like humans. Is this perhaps an inkling that we are in an animal’s house, not a human’s house? The cat certainly seems to act like it owns the place – but then again don’t all cats?
Cocquerel’s movements are mime-like and exaggerated which offer a dream-like quality to the film. Perhaps an ode to the likes of Jacques Tati and Marcel Marceau from times gone by. This together with the colourful, animal dominated setting bring a sense of the whimsical to A man and a cat.
It’s quite rare to find a French language film shot in Australia, let alone directed by an Australian director. The French language against the Brisbane backdrop both let us be whisked away while bringing us back to the familiar quintessential Australian suburbia.
A delightful short film for cat-lovers and cat-haters alike.
A man and a cat: https://biff.com.au/event/a-man-and-a-cat/
Director: Kevin Spink
Duration: 13 minutes
Cast: Thomas Cocquerel, Bryan Probets, Hugh Parker
A man and a cat is screening in the Heart Beats short film strand at BIFF 2020.
N’diajnemo is the latest short film from director Habib Yazki. Yazki has not only worked on his own short films but has produced advertisements and short documentaries for the likes of Longchamp, Nike, Biotherm, Starbucks and National Geographic. His previous short film Bamako Chicken was part of the official selection at a number of film festivals including St. Louis International Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, Helsinki African Film Festival, and Ethnografilm.
Shot in grainy, documentary style, N’diajnemo takes us on a wild comedic ride through two days with David (David Joël Konaté) and Cheick (Cheick Nomoko). David, sensible, preparing for an audition, which could take him to the USA, is the complete opposite to care-free, reckless Cheick. On the eve of the audition, David wants to buy a CD but wants to do so without Cheick’s usual “petits detours”. What follows is exactly the kind of detours and adventure that David is not looking for.
The film opens with vehicles, and a lot of cows, on the busy streets of Bamako, Mali. Yet much of the film actually takes place in the secluded alleyways of the city. Quite a contrast to the chaotic world in which Cheick lives
Frustrating as it must be to be poor David, at the whim of Cheick’s detours of the day, you can’t help but like Cheick as a character.
Remarkably, in these 13 minutes, Habib Yazdi has made a film in which there are laughs, some tense moments and even redemption.
Injuries, being on the run, childhood memories, vengeance and regrets, N’Diajnemo has it all!
Director: Habib Yazdi
Duration: 13 minutes
Cast: David Joël Konaté, Cheick Nomoko, Nafissatou Traoré, Alhassane Ly
N’diajnemo is screening as part of the Life Beats strand at BIFF 2020.
Sororal, meaning sisterly, centres on three sisters located deep inland who are warned a flood is coming by someone fleeing for higher ground.
Directors Frédéric Even and Louise Mercadier are self-taught directors. Frederic graduated from Paris’ Sorbonne University with a Literature degree, whereas Louise studied sculpture and animation at the “Ateliers des Beaux Arts” in Paris. “Sororal” is their second short film following their initial stop-motion short Metamorphose.
Screening as part of the Short Beats short film strand at BIFF 2020, Sororal has already won the directors a number of prizes in film festivals around the world. These include the Warsaw International Film Festival 2019, International Film Festival of Guayaquil 2019, International Animation Film Festival of Paris 2019, Xiamen Cybersousa 2019, Findecoin Festival 2020 of Puerto La Cruz, National Animation Film Festival 2020 in Rennes, Golden Ger International Film Festival 2020 in Ulaanbaatar, and at the Budapest Short Film Festival 2020.
Visually Sororal is very impressive. The characters are portrayed by incredible puppets, made of resin. Their faces were sculpted after a 3D modelling and printing process. The joinery lines on the face and limbs are not hidden but rather add a realness and perhaps a fragility to the characters the puppets embody.
Lighting provides a sombre mood matching that in which the sisters find themselves upon hearing the news of the pending natural disaster.
The desolate landscape matches the women’s appearance as they struggle with the news given by the fellow villager. The women also begin to match the changing landscape. Two of the sisters feeling the impacts of the approaching flood start to have sore fleshy wounds appear on their skin. The third sister, for some reason unknown to the viewer, and perhaps even the sisters themselves, does not have the same wounds.
While visually extremely impressive, this short film is not one in which a lot happens. Rather, Sororal is a contemplative, visual delight.
Directors: Frédéric Even, Louise Mercadier
Duration: 15 minutes
N’diajnemo is screening as part of the Life Beats stream on 10 and 11 October. You can find out more about the films it is screening with and purchase your tickets here:
A man and a cat is screening as part of the Heart Beats short-film stream on 4 and 9 October at BIFF 2020. You can find out more about the films it is screening with and purchase your tickets here:
Sororal is screening as part of the Short Beats stream at BIFF 2020 on 6 and 10 October 2020. You can find out more about the films it is screening with and purchase your tickets here:
Tickets cost $16.50 for adults and there are discounts available for concession card holders, QAGOMA Members and children.
To find out about other films in French showing at BIFF, click here.
To view the entire BIFF 2020 program, check out their website here:
What’s your favourite short-film in French?