Accueil > Festivals > Clermont Ferrand 2012

Clermont Ferrand 2012

jeudi 29 mars 2012, par Clotilde

Last month, I attended the greatest short film festival in the world, in terms of both the number of visitors and its selection of the best of avant-garde cinema : The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, of course ! French Association "Sauve qui peut le court métrage" is a leader in the promotion and distribution of short films and supports the format via not only the Clermont Ferrand Festival, but also a Short Films Cinematheque, a Youth Programme for short films, and a range of other schemes. Their fine work makes Clermont Ferrand Film Festival a packed and joyful celebration of short films for which viewers queue for miles with a big smile and the inevitable official bag ;).

Last month, I attended the greatest short film festival in the world, in terms of both the number of visitors and its selection of the best of avant-garde cinema : The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, of course ! French Association "Sauve qui peut le court métrage" is a leader in the promotion and distribution of short films and supports the format via not only the Clermont Ferrand Festival, but also a Short Films Cinematheque, a Youth Programme for short films, and a range of other schemes. Their fine work makes Clermont Ferrand Film Festival a packed and joyful celebration of short films for which viewers queue for miles with a big smile and the inevitable official bag ;).

This year, the very cold winter and snowy storms didn’t prevent the audience from filling every seat and patiently standing in hour-long queues..
This year, the short films selection was particularly good and, as usual, the different juries celebrated the cream of the crop via the awards ceremony.


Awards Room

Although there are a number of works that I would have liked to see up there, here’s a glance at the Palmarès : International Grand Prix (Best Film) :

"Guest", directed by Ga Eun Yoon (South Corea) is a real masterpiece depicting the encounter of two children left alone at home and a young student in love, the strongest moment of which is the realisation by the student that she shouldn’t wallow in self-pity. The loneliness, underlying rage and continuously shifting power relations between the characters are depicted with such skill and sincerity that it renders Yoon’s work truly heartwrenching. Congrats to Ga Eun Yoon for this masterpiece.


Ga Eun Yoon

International Audience Prize : "Curfew", directed by Shawn Christensen (USA) is one of my favourite shorts from this year’s festival. The need for connection of the self-ostracized main character as he is continuously « called back » is particularly touching. His response to his sister’s call for help feels as if it was directed towards him. His behaviour towards his niece and to those he loves reveal his need to project care and love onto someone in order to cope with his own existence.


Festival Presenters

Lab Competition Best Film : "Il capo", directed by Yuri Ancarani (Italia). At the heart of this is a bare-chested man standing in the mist, directing labourers without a word. The « Man » is stood there, unmoving, as massive slabs of marble are being cut by gigantic machines, an incarnation of the « Essence of Man » ; the whole shot looks like a perfume advert, the man an orchestra conductor guiding a ballet of machines. A sense of majestic beauty is conferred onto the man via his sign language, through the machines strength and noises, through the slabs of marble.

The three Lab Competition were given to UK shorts : the very disgusting "Bobby Yeah", directed by Robert Morgan, the free undestanding "Wind over lake", directed by Jeorge Elkin, and the sad "Belly" directed by Julia Pott. My preference goes to the heart-wrenching "Belly" and its metaphor of teenage rites of passage. Its animation, depicting an imaginary world is rounded and soft, easy on the eye.

You can buy the book at http://www.littlepaperplanes.com/product/3301-belly-book-by-julia-pott .

"Belly"

I wanted to mention "Doomed" ("Condenados") directed by Guillermo Garcia Carsi in my List of Clermont Ferrand Favourites, and I am really delighted it was awarded Best Comedy. This absurd short film plunges us in a game played by a naturalist reporter searching tirelessly for new and incredible subjects to explore, such as the cube fish’s migration or the inverted hedgehog’s way of life. This skit is incredibly well built, dealing with the real restrictions inherent to nature documentaires, but with such a sense of humour you can’t stop yourself chuckling.


Youth Jury

Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to see the French Competition Grand Prix "Ce qu’il restera de nous" directed by Vincent Macaigne, but the director has often shown great skill and I have no doubt the jury’s choice was well deserved. In brief, the plot revolves around three family members, each one near collapse after a father’s death. We join them within the confines of the family home for a highly explosive cocktail à la Sartre’s "No exit" ("Huis Clos"). "Ce qu’il restera de nous" has also received Press Prize.


Vincent Macaigne

French Competition Audience Prize is "La France qui se lève tôt", directed by Hugo Chesnard. Inspired from Souleymane Bagayoko’s real life story, who worked in France for a private company before being deported back to Mali. In the first plane Souleymane, with a police escort, other passengers protested against his plight by refusing to take their seats. So the plane could not take off. A second plane took Souleymane to Mali but after a trial, he was allowed back. From the first bout of protests from OSP workers to the scene on the airplane, "La France qui se lève tôt" is a powerful musical short denouncing the underlying absurdity and abuse of power behind both the employment and the deportation of “illegal” workers.

Last but not least, French Competition Best Actor and Best Actress awards. Best actor is Sébastien Houbani with Nicolas Mesdom "La tête froide".
I take my hat off to Best actress Laurie Lévêque, in the amazing "Petite Pute", directed by the talented Claudine Natkin, which I’ll talk about in my French-language List of Favourites.

Incredibly sincere, sensitive and full of subtility. Laurie Lévêque’s performance is sensitive, subtle and powerful, bringing to the character the right mix of self-doubt and confidence. Every look, every move, every word is studied in depth. A masterful performance.

I can’t talk of every film in the palmares, although I would like to, but here is the list of other awards that were handed out, such as Youth Jury Prize in both competitions, Best Animation Film, French Competition Best First Film...

For the complete list of nominees : http://www.clermont-filmfest.com/index.php?m=157

Make sure you catch them on TV or web screenings in the near future !

Clotilde Couturier

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