"The joy of running."
ODEON/7 is a short film by French artist Jonathan Djob Nkondo about a stick figure character who joyously runs and jumps through an urban location. In line with his previous ODEON shorts, it lasts around a minute.
One main character with a crowd of supporting characters, a strong external conflict, stylized minimalist aesthetic with surreal elements and an emphasis on motion and surprise are the components of the short.
Situated in an urban location the short employs what initially seems to be non-realistic staging with elements that intrude into an otherwise familiar setting. This disruption of reality is a joyful one. The stick figure character towards the end of the short is however shown to be a kind of robot, which shifts the genre from fantasy to science fiction.
A highly stylized aesthetic with a black and white palette is used. A lot of work has been dedicated to framing and composition, something that characterizes Nkondo’s films. Environment design has received a lot of attention, too.
Visual rhythm is high, handled through editing, motion within the frame and a camera move (a pan). At times it seems the short is mixing comic book illustrations with animation, as a few of the shots are completely static. As in other films by Nkondo, the pacing of editing and animation is remarkable.
Extreme long shots abound due to the emphasis on speed and the expansive locations. A number of medium shots are used to transmit the expressions of secondary characters, close-ups are employed to transmit and place an accent on certain actions and objects.
The use of sensory images is also worth noting, such as the wheel of the car braking and the liquid flowing on the floor. Together with sound design they help spice up the short. The shot of the flock of birds rising is reminiscent of the famous shot that replaces a revolver sound with a flock of birds suddenly taking flight in Josef von Sternberg’s silent film The Docks of New York (1928).
What makes ODEON/7 work so well? Highly creative script, joyful mood, polished pacing and abundant surreal elements that bring constant surprises to the viewer.