"Laure must replace a deceased swimmer in the relay swim team."
Sensory images abound in this heavily stylized, impressive short produced at Gobelins by French artists Nathan Otaño, Rémy Clarke and Leïla Courtillon. With an emphasis on subjectivity in narration, the short presents an external conflict that triggers a strong internal one, the tormented struggles of a swimmer, raising the tension to a level that justifies the introduction of supernatural elements.
Narrated from the POV of the main character, the heightened subjectivity is achieved through the use of framing (abundant close-ups and POV shots, semi-subjective camera), sound design (internal sounds, moments of silence, sounds heard as perceived by the main character) and remarkable use of non-realistic staging and aesthetics that reflect the character’s feelings.
Also worth noting is the hard work the team has dedicated to greatly polishing the heart-pounding pace of the story. Sound, music, ellipses and visual rhythm (editing, camera shakes, freeze frames, etc.) are employed to great effect to administer the pace and tension of the story and transmit the conflict the character is going through.
To sum it up, quoting French scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, a possible way to categorize films is by dividing them into those which take place in the head of the audience, and those which take place in the head of a character. This one belongs to the later, and it’s a special case of this, since the directors have chosen to free themselves from the constraints of realism and are playing freely with artistic elements for expressive purposes, in order to maximize the impressions they want to convey, and to transmit the story as refracted through the perception and subjectivity of the character.