1 Meter/Hour is the latest short film by talented French director
Nicolas Deveaux that features protagonists from the animal kingdom. The
artist, known for 7tons2 and 5meters80, as well as many TV channel IDs,
spots and series casting CG animals in unusual situations, has a taste
for surrealism and a long-standing appreciation for animals.
Time is the
subject of the film. To create a dialogue between our
hyper-technological human time (…) and the time of the snail
1 Meter/Hour is a non-narrative film, centered on a choreography
performed by snails on an airplane wing. It plays with essential
elements from filmmaking: time, varying playback speeds and the
movements and patterns they reveal. Timelapses abound, according to
Deveaux the film is intended as a reflection on time and how it’s
perceived by humans vs. other species.
Staging is highly original, this is the first film featured on this site
(and probably the last one) in which the action takes place almost
entirely on an airplane wing. A lot of effort has been dedicated to
aesthetic work, the director plays with colors, movement, cameras and
composition to unravel the choreographies developed by French dancer and
theater director Philippe Decouflé. CG is used extensively, with quality
photorealism produced by Paris-based Cube Creative studio.
Environments play a significant role in the film, they are used for
expressive purposes to potentiate choreography and music. They also
posed a considerable technical challenge, as they were needed to be recreated
realistically in order to achieve a successful surreal aesthetic (with reminiscences from Buñuel and Magritte, among others). The team from Cube Creative captured HDRI panoramas in 20k resolution for
skies and lighting and thanks to the support of Paris Airport and Air
France they were able to work in the field and get plenty of footage and
quality material to recreate parts of the airport accurately, as well as
sections of the airplane.
Visual rhythm is high and varies throughout the short, usually following
the pace of music. Camera moves abound: pans, tilts, dollies, cranes,
zooms, etc., are used to showcase the coreography, follow the action,
place a focus on specific areas, provide framing and composition, add
visual rhythm, etc. Editing, timelapses and lighting contribute to
visual rhythm, too.
What makes 1 Meter/Hour work so well? A highly surreal and original way of combining snails, choreography and airplanes, showing them in a
completely new light, great experimentation with time, impressive
aesthetic work, all seasoned with a bit of humor, with birds
showing up to catch a snail or two.
Director Nicolas Deveaux kindly shared with us some
insights on his fascination with animals and nature, and the conception
of 1 Meter/Hour:
Yes, my passion for the animal world dates back to my childhood. It may
have come from morning getaways with my father to photograph birds
during the holidays or from the animal magazines I received every month.
In any case, nature is an inexhaustible reservoir of discoveries that
can only seduce a child. Let’s say that I extended the pleasure.
This short film is the third in a series. I had explored the question of
weight and lightness with 7tonnes2 (an elephant on a trampoline), height
with 5mètres80 (diving giraffes) and I wanted to question time. As I
like to put myself in the animal’s place, I asked myself the question:
can a snail be perceived as slow? If not, then a whole unknown world
opens up, far from human eyes and time. A snail in timelapse becomes an
ice-skater in my eyes, so why not invent a choreography?
So yes, time is the subject of the film. To create a dialogue between
our hyper-technological human time, which can take us to the other side
of the planet in a very short time in the air thanks to the plane and
the time of the snail, a wild species, unchanging since the time of
fossils and crawling belly down on very small spaces – To create a
dialogue between opposites and make them credible and surreal. I believe
that we have a very special relationship with the airplane. Time becomes
elastic, interminable nights, endless days, jetlag, … I believe that
we also keep a child’s soul, a wonder conducive to observation and
enchantment. The airplane wing is a magnificent theatre stage for our
dancers and on a tarmac the sun’s course is maximum from dawn to dusk,
which was an essential element of the timelapse light of the film.
Only one animal is real in the film. Will you be able to find it?
1 Meter/Hour was co-produced by Cube Creative and ARTE France, and it’s
being distributed by Autour de Minuit.
Cube Creative is a Paris-based production company of 2D / 3D animation
and VFX founded in 2002 by Lionel Fages, Majid Loukil and Bruno Le
Levier. Cube produces commercials and “large screen” projects for theme
and scientific parks. The studio also develops projects with young
filmmakers from the best animation schools allowing them to make their
first short films or video clips.
ARTE is a Franco-German TV network that supports creativity and culture
in all forms. Programs are broadcast 24/7 on all types of screens
throughout Europe and beyond. The founding fathers of ARTE believed that
a joint television channel should bring French and German citizens
closer on a cultural level and promote cultural integration throughout
Europe. Autour de Minuit is a film production and distribution company based in Paris created in 2001 by Nicolas Schmerkin that aims to support
aesthetically innovative projects, and to develop original graphic
worlds with a solid content. The company deals with world distribution
of animations and digital works, with a catalogue of nearly 300 films.
Since 2018, Autour de Minuit distributes Nicolas Deveaux’s films such as
« 7tonnes2 » (short film, 2005), « 5mètre80 » (short film, 2012) and «
Athleticus » (series, 2 seasons, 30×2’15, 2018).