Monday, 7 July 2008

Philippe Grammaticopoulos & Xavier L'Hermuzière "Le Processus" (The Process)

Made in 2000 at the prestigious Supinfocum, Le Processus by Philippe Grammaticopoulos and Xavier L'Hermuzière is a visually riveting eight minute animation in black and white. A troop of identical men clad in top hats and double breasted greatcoats march in unison through a constantly revolving door. They march in identical ways, in a curious clockwork, jerky movement, symmetrically aligned, and in great numbers, flooding the streets and corridors. One unlucky fellow has his hat knocked off as he marches through the doors and, due to the crowd, is unable to retrieve it. Suddenly conspicuous now, his naked head a beacon for his comrades, he is forced to flee. A statue, as identical as any other of the men only larger, is his target as he attempts to scale the monument in a vain attempt to obtain the helmet. Such an action is not to the liking of his massed ex-colleagues whose brollies are suddenly called into action. To a varied soundtrack by Ivo Malec, Nine Inch Nails and Parmegiani we follow the mounting turmoil of the fugitive, marching against the tide, suddenly cast out of his society, and the disruption his change wreaks on his world. It is a classy and artistic treatment of the theme of militarism and conformity, an Orwellian world that will linger in the memory. The wood-cut, etched style is particularly effective. It was Philippe's graduation movie though he progressed to make the powerful Amnesty International short Signatures I featured a few months back. He is presently completing his third feature film, Les Ventres (Stomachs) though I will be featuring his second in a week or so. Xavier currently works as a computer graphics artist for RF2K Production. He animated the 2005 Le Régulateur, the subject of my upcoming post.

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