Short Of Breath

"Under pressure. A young motorcycle driver trains for a supercross competition with the help of a father obsessed with winning."

Produced by five artists at Parisian “usine” Gobelins, Short Of Breath (Souffle-Court) is a fast paced film that presents two main characters, a highly psychological narrative with an external conflict that triggers strong internal conflicts, and an emphasis on sound design.

Using a stylized aesthetic with 2D animation (along with some 3D elements) plus great character and environment design, much of the conflict is built through dialogue, which describes the parent’s obsession and how he projects it towards his son. Two-shots are used to portray the relationship of the characters and their interaction (with good use of foreground-background composition), together with closeups to show their emotions and deliver them to the audience with extra impact. Sound design is used throughout to build tension and express the emotional displacements of the characters, internal sounds have a strong presence. It also helps underscore how the anxiety of the son character is finally handed over to his father when the former decides to take a détour.

Sensory images are used very effectively, helping infuse the film with life, adding rhythm to the images as well as transmiting the weather and time of day. Visual rhythm has been handled with great care: editing, camera moves, quick blurs, camera shakes, image noise, etc., are put to good use to fasten the pace. But it’s really the quality editing work that makes the film shine in this regard.

What makes the film work so well? It has a skillfully built psychological conflict with strong tension that hooks the viewer and is clearly destined to end in disaster, but takes an unexpected détour which offers a happy ending, surprise, relief and yes, maybe even a smile.

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