Offered since 2010, MyFrenchFilmFestival showcases the breathtaking diversity and quality of contemporary French cinema. Omeleto is proud to partner with UniFrance to highlight short film selections from the collection, which range from charming children’s animations to gritty psychodramas to quietly resonant family narratives. No matter what the genre, this group of shorts highlights the creative risk-taking and emotional depth that makes French cinematic art uniquely vibrant.
A giant lynx lives alone in a forest on the edge of a town. But the city’s lights at night attract its attention, and it wanders into the new environment. It is fascinated by blinking traffic lights, as well as its reflections in the windows of a skyscraper. It sharpens its claws against the grooves of a building and finds the city a new playground to explore.
But then it becomes attracted to the chimes of car alarms and finds its way to a parking lot, where it falls asleep, the snow burying it. The next morning, the town locals wake up and are astonished to find this strange creature. It becomes an object of fascination, and the city dwellers soon surround it, taking pictures of it with their smartphones. But the attention alarms the lynx, who flees, its intrepid spirit still intact.
Charming, whimsical and beautifully designed, this short fantasy animation by Nina Bisiarina enchants with its blend of playful innocence and exploratory spirit. The hand-drawn 2D shapes are rendered with bold, expressive lines in a faux-naive style, but the storytelling has wisdom and knowingness, as well as an attention to detail that make it sweetly memorable.
By following the action of the lynx, it allows us to see the city in a new way, as a set of structures making up a fascinating playground. The city is a mostly greyscale place, and devoid of people at first. The buildings, cars and parking lots become a new avenue for the lynx to romp and explore, and watching its inventiveness offer a fresh perspective.
The lynx itself is a small marvel of a character, and a consistent delight to watch. The only spot of color in a mostly grey film, it moves with great grace, curiosity and expressiveness, evincing such diverse emotions as surprise, intrigue, delight and hesitancy. The visual style of the character may seem simple, but its movements and gestures are quite complex and sophisticated in concept and execution.
The lynx’s feline self-possessiveness is present throughout, juxtaposed with almost childlike innocence as it makes its way through the town. Both these qualities are essential to the lynx’s identity and retained even when the townspeople wake up the next morning. Their reaction to such a strange creature in their midst is not unsurprising (and perhaps the most realistic detail in the storytelling.) But it is enough to drive the lynx away — much to their loss.
“A Lynx In the Town” is a lovely paean to finding magic everywhere you go and remembering the value of play, even in the midst of a crowded, busy city. The triumph of the lynx, in the end, is how it may find itself driven out by the impulses of the city dwellers, but it still retains its spirit of inventiveness, innocence and fun, sheltered once again by the peace and space of its native forest. It’s a beautifully realized metaphor for retaining our own pure joy by taking time to play, amidst the hustle and bustle of our own lives.
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A giant lynx leaves the forest to live in a town. Then all hell breaks loose… | A Lynx In the Town
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