Right after the Laval Virtual show, I wanted to see all these artistic films and documentary in 360 °, so I went to 4 sessions at the VR theater on Sunday, April 8, at the Forum des images. I watched a total of 12 VR works – (2 hours).
Here comes my critics:
“DANS LA PEAU DE THOMAS PESQUET” – WORLD PREMIERE
By Jürgen Hansen & Pierre-Emmanuel Le Goff- La Vingt Cinquième Heure – ProspectTV – DVgroup – France Télévisions
Thomas Pesquet’s training is impressive, and we have the chance to reach unusual places. Thomas sometimes addresses us (thus addressing the camera) and guides us through the various stages of his training. The subject is hot, interesting, exciting, everyone wants to live such an adventure alongside this idol. Qualitative 360 ° images enhance the scope of the mission. The spatialized sound is effective, it reinforces the immersion and the feeling of proximity with Thomas Pesquet. There are some interesting staging ideas, including the astronaut’s kid’s room. But, because unfortunately it resides a but, I found the editing and transitions of images not well thought and made. So I imagine it hasn’t been an easy adventure, given all the circumstances and possible problems (timing, accessible places …) but it’s unfortunate that we feel the unperfect post-production. It’s a privilege though to be embarked on such an adventure, and that’s one main attraction of VR: giving such possibilities.
THE OTHER DAKAR
De Selly Raby Kane – Electric South – Big World Cinema & Goethe Institut
A creative film, completely folkloric. We follow a little girl who meets a lot of phantasmagorical characters, strange or almost monstrous. I salute the originality of the work, for cons I regret the lack of scenario. The film apparently pays homage to the Senegalese myths. I do not know if the frequent placement of black albino people in monstrous postures and costumes are voluntary, because historically on the African continent, the story of black albinos has not been simple: Often sacrificed and killed because different. The acting is a bit ransacked and the movements are very theatrical. It makes the work quite hybrid but I’m still happy to see a 360 ° film produced in sub-Saharan Africa that is not a documentary on misery. I hope this film will open the gap of original African productions.
THE TRAIN HAMASEN – EUROPEAN PREMIERE
By Kuan-Yuan Lai – Poké Poké Creative & Kaohsiung VR Film Lab
The first 30 seconds are magical: We are immersed in a version of Taiwan that is half fantastic, half realistic, we hear people speak Taiwanese, we see women disguised as in our imagination of European. Very quickly, it becomes too much, the effects that superimpose the real 360 shots are too numerous. In particular, there were a lot of stitching problems (when a cut is visible in the image) so they multiply the effects to hide them. It becomes ridiculous and annoying. Here again, in the manner of Another Dakar, there is a certain creative effort that is refreshing, but it is also terrible lack of scenario. It’s super creative but the production was sloppy, too bad!
700 SHARKS – WORLD PREMIERE
By Manuel Lefèvre & Frédéric Gourdet – Neotopy – Le Cinquième Rêve & ARTE France documentaire
[For info: The first job I wanted to do was as a marine scientist. And one of the best days of my life was when I snorkeled at the coral reef in Australia. I cannot dive because I am asthmatic. So having the opportunity to do it in virtual reality is very important to me]
Laurent Ballesta takes us to the Pacific to follow him on a rare underwater expedition. The film begins with breathtaking aerial views. Laurent and his crew prepare their expedition in surf gear, among the palm trees. They often talk to us (the camera) explaining that we are a new diver in the expedition. Simple narrative tip that works well and sometimes comes back as a kind of running gag. The southern accent of Laurent, who is our guide and our narrator, makes our journey even more exotic. He has a way of pressing on certain words worthy of a great storyteller. To follow up on sound topic, we have a faultless among the chosen music and sounddesign. Once underwater, the images speaks for themselves. Probably the best 360 ° aesthetic documentary I’ve ever seen (with The Real Thing) The filmmakers understood everything about the media, the storytelling, the emotion and the spectator’s involvement.
YOUR SPIRITUAL TEMPLE SUCKS – FRENCH PREMIERE
By John Hsu – Serendipity – FilmsFunique VR & Kaohsiung VR Film Lab
A comedy well done and well produced in stereoscopy. Mr. Chang, whom we incarnate, calls on his guardian in the afterlife to arrange the disorder of his conjugal and financial life. We are in a very messy little apartment, and behind us through a window appears the real world with “our” wife who “waits” for us. The staging is interesting, between window showing a different timeline, elements of retro gaming and a buffoon character, the adventure of Mr Chang in his spiritual temple quickly becomes a fiasco, and “Our” wife “does not” wait “so wisely … The story is well tied, and the 10 minutes in this adventure pass very quickly. I found it fun, original and well done. 360 ° comedies are rare, so to see one with perfect technical mastery, effective and beautiful shots, and very random elements makes the film even more funny.
NAIROBI BERRIES – FRENCH PREMIERE
Bt Ng’endo Mukii – Electric South
Two costumed characters dance in the middle of a forest. They simulate a couple quarrel. Visually it’s a disaster, the “cuts” between the images are violent. What was to be a poetic work quickly becomes a nightmare. The voiceover is quite boring, using a monotonous tone. In short, you’ll understand, not my trip at all.
LET THIS BE A WARNING – FRENCH PREMIERE
By Jim Chuchu – Electric South & Goethe Institut
This film consists of two still shots. We are first threatened by guests arriving from far in the desert (too) slowly. With graphic elements amounting we are a kind of a robot, or a human equipped with a computer system. Then, in the background we are in a room where our attackers are addressing us. Technical mistakes are very numerous (lights, stitches) which is a shame and spoil the game of the good actress who turns us around. We can clearly guess the moralistic side, long before it is said and written, “What would you do if you were not welcome in a world of black men and women?” It could have been interesting, but the staging is too little qualitative for it to be.
WHO WE REMAIN – UNCUT VERSION (PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN)
By Trevor Snapp & Sam Wolson – Nuba Reports, Emblematic Group, ARTE, New York Times & AJ+
We see the suffering of south Sudanese who are in victims of local war and Charia. We are in holes or caves with many children to avoid bombing. In particular, we follow the commander of People’s Liberation Army of North Sudan. The images are sometimes rustic, as are the living conditions of the Sudanese in this area. It is a journalistic documentary and not aesthetic like 700 sharks or The Real Thing. The subject is poignant and only the 360 ° allows an immersion like this one and an adhesion to the cause, because we are really in “camera embarked” in the heart of the subject. A poignant and alarming documentary.
VAYSHA the blind VR
bY Theodore Ushev – Marc Bertrand – Julie Roy & NFB
The only animated film within this festival has a very arty graphic paw. It is very innovative in what it offers and how it uses VR. It does not use the 360 °, you have one different film in front of each of your eyes. It is a stereoscopic film. In this Vaysha story we embody the blind, she has a left eye that sees the past, and a right eye that sees the future. Sometimes we have to choose what we want to see by closing an eye (otherwise it’s too unpleasant, sometimes the narrator imposes a choice on us) This story is very well told and illustrated and allows us to experience visual discomfort. something powerful and unusual.
THE REAL THING – INTERNATIONAL PREVIEW
By Benoit Felici & Mathias Chelebourg – Artline – Films, DVgroup, in coproduction with ARTE France
This documentary takes us to 3 Chinese cities that copy the architecture of 3 European cities: London, Paris and Venice. The architectural feats are filmed in drones in each city, but also on the ground where we follow the adventure of one person by city: A restorer for the false Paris, an antique dealer for the false Venice and a photographer for the false London. The introduction of the film is animated graphic images with a poetic voice over, style used again in the end credits. Everything is very neat in this film where each image, thought, interview, sequence seems very picky and prepared visualy. This documentary is extremely well done and highlights places and an intriguing culture. There, no character is addressed to the camera, but it is a choice that is assumed: We are only guests in a culture visually close to ours, and yet so far away. The only but I would talk about is that the characters are not endearing enough, I imagine a less close and sincere relationship given the logistics of the film.
THÉÂTRE D’AUTOMNE – FRENCH PREMIERE
By Mathieu Barrette & Myriam Coulombe – LOREL, Théâtre du Bic & Théâtre les gens d’en bas
In addition to the bad stereoscopy, the story that seemed to be a curveball of a comedian’s role is fizzling out. The beginning gives hope, the result is not up to the announcement. Another idea poorly implemented.
SPIRIT ROBOT – FRENCH PREMIERE
By Jonathan Dotse – Nubian VR & Electric South
Discovering street art, musicians, painters and cultural events in West Africa at 360 is pretty cool. We wander between different artistic events, sometimes intelligently filmed, sometimes awkwardly staged. But to show the cultural turmoil of Ghana, blunders are forgiven. The sound of the voice-over goes out almost sometimes behind the ambient noise. The means had to be modest for the sound work, just as for the rest so it is not a masterful work, but a small cultural film not so uninteresting.