Back On Track

"Clinging to his motorcycle, Michael prepares to launch himself from the top of a long ramp."

Back On Track is a short film created at Supinfocom Rubika about a former motorcycle jump champion whose fears are preventing him from jumping again. It was created by five artists during their third-year studies at the Valenciennes-based school.

Two characters (one of them offscreen), strong internal conflict, shifts in subjectivity in narration and an emphasis on fast visual rhythm and transmitting the impression of speed are the main elements of the short.

Back On Track is staged in urban/suburban locations: in the main character’s house and on a ramp in a stadium, as well as inside the character’s mind. The work dedicated to the stylized aesthetics is outstanding, great work has been done on the design of the main character, environments and objects. Framing, lighting, colors, composition, depth of field are a pleasure to watch.

Framing uses extreme long shots to capture the stadium and ramp, and help transmit the challenge the character is facing. Plenty of medium shots and close-ups are employed to convey the character’s feelings, as well as to build the subjective narration it transitions to. Flashbacks are used to this effect, too. Low and high angle cameras are frequent throughout the short. Depth of field is also used extensively, to create depth or to highlight elements in the shots.

Visual rhythm varies greatly, and increases significantly in the jump sequence. It’s handled through editing, motion within the frame, camera moves (cranes, dollies, pans and a roll), camera shakes, shifts in depth of field, etc. The work done on cinematography works really well for transmitting speed, in combination with sound design. A couple of cuts in editing are worth highlighting, the use of a graphic match in a continuous dolly at 31s works really well, as does the one at 1m21s in which the film cuts from Michael’s helmet to the elevator going up. Other highlights include the performance of the main character and the abundant use of sensory images which help spice up the film greatly.

What makes Back On Track work so well? Strong internal conflict, wonderful work on aesthetics, effective cinematography, expressive character that helps transmit conflict and great use of subjectivity in narration that adds elements of surprise to the film.


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