"A dad takes his son on a kayak trip."
Kayak is a short film about a mischievous baby and the fun misadventures his father faces when he takes him on a kayaking trip. It was created by five artists as their graduation film at renowned French school ENSI.
Three characters, external conflicts, a father-son relationship and an emphasis on (frequently airborne) slapstick comedy compose this highly entertaining short.
Staged in a natural environment, on a river and on the ground, the action takes place throughout the day. A stylized aesthetic for the characters is combined with a more realistic one for the environments. A palette with saturated colors is employed, warm colors are used to help highlight the characters. Quality work has been dedicated to character and environment design. Fluid simulations are a pleasure to watch, both in close-ups and overhead shots. Attention to composition and lighting are also worth mentioning.
Visual rhythm varies from medium to high throughout the short, increasing towards the end. Camera moves abound, including dollies, pans, tilts and cranes. Good attention is paid to screen directions, to build and maintain continuity. Due to the significant role played by the environment the short alternates between extreme long shots and tighter ones. Two-shots and close-ups are used frequently, the later to transmit the expressions of the baby.
What makes Kayak work so well? Creative use of physical humor that at times resorts to non-realistic staging, remarkable aesthetic work, highly expressive characters and plenty of surprises that keep the viewer hooked.