Monday, September 26, 2011

Izak's Choice (Les Mains) & The Red Thread (Fil Rouge) by Luc Plissonneau

Luc Plissonneau
I recently got access to the yet publicly unreleased short film directed by Luc Plissonneau Izak's Choice (Les Mains). After watching it, together with Plissonneau's previous effort The Red Thread (Fil Rouge), I decided to write a few words about both of the short films and their creator.

Luc Plissonneau is a French director and writer born in Bordeaux, France. So far, he has released several short films and apparently making shorts has just strengthen his desire to make feature-length movies cause I've got information that he is currently working on several lengthier scripts, including one expanding the story of The Red Thread.

Izak's Choice (Les Mains)
Izak's Choice is the latest film by Luc Plissonneau, made in 2011, and as far as I know it has not been publicly released yet. This short movie is about Izak, a talented but unsuccessful piano player, and his choices. He has chosen to live an alienated life, a decision that is further reinforced by a series of failures. He wants to work as a piano teacher but intentionally ruins all of the opportunities that stand in his way. Finally, he meets a 16-year-old girl, Lucie, and he chooses her as both his sole piano student and subsequently his lover. The relationship changes the lives of both of them and Izak manages to win an audition for playing a major concert at last. After the audition, something terrible happens to Lucie and Izak has to make yet another choice.

The cast of Izak's Choice sports the name of Serbian-American pianist Ivan Ilić who plays the leading role of Izak. He and the rest of the actors do their job quite well. The direction and writing are overall good although the scene before the accident could have been made more convincing. If I strain myself to share a bit more of a criticism, the song at the end of the movie does not fit perfectly well for me but it could be due to my almost non-existent French skills, thus my inability to realize its purpose without the usage of the provided English translation.

The film ends on a high note without leaning on a Hollywoodish happy end. The notions of love, self-sacrifice and the right of everybody to have a decent life and realization independently of physical or emotional defects are demonstrated with credibility. Superfluously sentimental and corny moments are practically missing. The camera work and the editing are nice to watch. And all in all, Izak's Choice is an easy recommendation for everyone.

Luc Plissonneau's Fil Rouge
The Red Thread (Fil Rouge)
The Red Thread has been released in November 2008. It is centered around Achille Lambert, an ancestral wine producer from Bordeaux, who is an elderly man with poor health. His daughter Roxane arranges a blind wine tasting for him, preparing several different bottles, each of which is coming from a particular vintage matching crucial periods in Achille's life. The taste of the wine brings important memories to Lambert's mind that enlighten us on his cornerstones in life. The wine induced memories assisted by intermediate short talks with his daughter help Achille to ease a burden he has carried for his entire life.

In its short time-span (about 15 minutes), The Red Thread manages to provoke a bunch of feelings and emotions. Well, you won't laugh hysterically during the movie but obviously this has not been among the author's intentions anyway. The film tells the story of Lambert's family and as such it's a tale of life and the variety of states and sensations it offers to a regular man throughout his existence. Since the film is dealing with a large period of time and explores timeless matters, my anticipation is it will work quite well as a feature-length film too. Even without any addition of essentially new episodes (or bottles of wine), a full feature film could elaborate enough just upon the current ones. Time will tell if I have been right. And meanwhile, you can sense the bouquet of emotions The Red Thread produces here.

Both, Izak's Choice (Les Mains) and The Red Thread (Fil Rouge), share a lot of similarities despite being substantially different and non-repetitive. Each movie is non-linear, composed of separate episodes accentuating key events for the lead character. Either of the two short films shows the importance of the choices we make in life. Both of the movies are indistinct to a degree in the beginning but towards the end everything becomes perfectly clear and Luc Plissonneau puts each piece of the puzzle into its proper place. At the end, each of the films leaves you with satisfactory and lightening feeling. For an even more pleasant experience I advise to give the movies a second try and just enjoy the already arranged puzzles in their screen continuity. After all, among the advantages of short films is natural proneness to recurrent viewings due to their length.


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