Francois Ozon (‘Frantz‘, ‘Swimming Pool’) directs the short ‘A Summer Dress‘ (1996). Set in the scorching heat of a beach vacation, the premise reads “It’s summer. Sébastien loves Sheila. Lucia loves boys. As for Frédéric, all he wants to do is work on his tan”! The narrative is well formed and Ozon brings out a lot of ideas in the fifteen-minute runtime. Fluid gender and sexuality are the most interesting of the themes.
In the same strand of the festival, “Love à la française”, ‘The Taste of Vietnam‘ (2016) introduces a final date narrative. Chloe has to leave, so Arnauld books dinner at a fancy restaurant. The edit takes us from the eatery to his flat with cuts back in time to the meal. This frantic editing technique highlights Chloe’s state of mind – she is torn about leaving, clearly. Big bottles of lager appear throughout. The visuals are pale and washed out, positioning the film in the frame of a romantic Instagram-esque appeal.
Elsewhere, Tristam Lhomme‘s ‘Lazare‘ (2016) brings about a darkly comedic tone. Lazare shares an apartment with friend Jacques. His clothing and the presentation of the flat is very Wes Anderson-y. At one point there is a close up of a neatly presented tray with animal biscuits, a bright blue cocktail with an umbrella, and palm tree motif serviettes. Lazare invites an internet date to the home, and things get increasingly farcical. An intriguing debut short from Lhomme.
In the “New Horizons” strand ‘PLANET ∞‘ (2017) allows a 360 degree viewing experience designed for VR. Momoko Seto shows fungi, mold and dried insect carcasses though a time line of environmental change. Allowing for a changing angle, there are many ways to explore the full space of the film. Further to this, the short ‘Wei or Die’ (2015) allows the viewer to switch point-of-view from character to character. The narrative surrounds hazing rituals at a French business school. The timeline and multiple POV choice is very ambitious.
All of these titles and even more short films are available to watch online as a part of MyFrenchFilmFestival.