"Ava, a young woman plunged in her dreams, wanders in the heart of the mysterious dollhouse from her childhood."
3 Walls & A Roof is a short film created by four students from French school PÔLE 3D about a young woman who wanders in a fantasy world in her dreams facing internal conflicts.
One main character with a crowd of supporting toy mice characters, non-realistic staging with abundant surreal, oniric elements, internal conflicts transposed into external ones and codes from the fantasy genre are the main ingredients of this highly psychological short.
3 Walls & A Roof (3 Murs & Un Toit) is staged in a house and in a fantasy world, inside the main character’s dreams, which take place in a dollhouse from her childhood. The film employs a surreal aesthetic, with references to Alice in Wonderland and surreal art. Great effort has been dedicated to character and environment design, with particular attention dedicated to scale and placement of objects, as well as lighting.
Framing alternates between tighter shots (close-ups and extreme close-ups) to show the toy characters and their actions, and medium, full and long shots to capture the young woman character’s actions (a number of close-ups are used for this purpose, too). Long and very long shots are employed to describe the environments. Visual rhythm is high, handled through editing, motion within the frame and abundant camera moves (dollies, pans, cranes and one particularly effective camera roll at 3.13).
Also worth noting is the fact that the dream-like nature of the script helps make it unpredictable. Surprise is woven into the story, and the narrative devices chosen to propel it forward are effective and enjoyable (the marble, the toy mice, keys and doors, the character looking at herself in another room, etc.).
What makes 3 Walls & A Roof work so well? Highly creative script, non-realistic staging, remarkable aesthetic work, strong conflicts, unpredictable narrative with surprises at each step, and a fantasy theme that will appeal to a wide audience.