Friday, November 13, 2015

Short Film: Initiation

A twenty minute long French language film directed by Stéphane Beaudoin in 2008, this is a case of less is more. Be it in the plot that shows glimpses of the story but never forms as a cohesive whole (though there certainly is a narrative), the effects or even the soundtrack, which is a wonderful tonal affair that captures a great atmosphere.

cut arm
It begins with a bathroom and a man, Vincent (Sébastien Delorme), has a badly cut arm with shards of glass embedded into the flesh. He pulls out the glass over the sink and washes the wounds. He then calls a contact (one of three thuggish looking gentlemen) and says that he has it (it being an artefact of wood with a decorative metal piece attached). Vincent’s contact asks if *he* was there and Vincent says no. They arrange to meet in a tunnel. As Vincent leaves we see that the place he has robbed has seen signs of a struggle and the *he* referred to is led on the floor, apparently dead.

what was it?
As Vincent walks towards the tunnel he bumps into a man (Yves Soutière). After Vincent moves on the man slowly turns to look at him. Vincent goes into the tunnel and lights a cigarette when the man appears behind him and dives at him. The man leaves the tunnel and Vincent suddenly bolts awake, gasping at air like a man surfacing from water. The artefact is gone, he looks on the garbage strewn floor and then chases after the man – assuming he has taken it.

cigarette men
Of course, things are not that simple. Vincent enters a club where it seems he is known. The artefact is, in fact, still in the alley and the thuggish men are looking for Vincent for failing to make the rendezvous, though that story is just explained in glimpses and is generally unimportant. Vincent is no longer the man he had been.

the man
The film hides most of its action. We see Vincent tackled in a blur, but he and the man fall off screen. We see an attack on a girl but we only see movement, her boots lifted from the floor. The two cigarette “smoking” men (they never actually light them) rumble with the thuggish guys but it as all off-screen. Yet this deliberate choice works well. I mentioned the soundtrack, which is fantastic in its minimalism, evocative but unobtrusive. However, whilst I couldn’t find an IMDb page at time of writing, you can see this for yourself.

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