Surfeurs (2011)

Two men – one is an experienced surfer, the other is a neophyte to riding the waves – are playing about on an isolated beach. They have a game where the experienced surfer buries his friend neck deep in the sand, timing how long it will take him to escape. It isn’t much of a challenge, as the buried man easily liberates himself. The experienced surfer takes his turn being buried neck deep in the sand – but he is unable to dig himself out. Rather than allow his pal to free him, he goads him into surfing in strong high tide waters. But the inexperienced surfer is knocked unconscious by a massive wave and the buried man watches in horror as the tide rushes to the beach and threatens to submerge him.

This nifty short from French actor-director Julien Lucas (who plays the unskilled surfer) offers an effective lesson in making a provocative film with minimal settings. The lonely beach’s appeal quickly becomes a dangerous prison for the sand-trapped man (effectively played by Satya Dusaugey), as his confidence evaporates immediately when he realizes he will be drowned beneath the oncoming waves. Michel Delage’s music offers an appropriately chilling audio framing for the visually arresting imagery presented here.

This is the only film credited to Lucas as a director and writer, which is a major shame at it displays an imaginative talent that should have been given more chances to shine.

“Surfeurs” can be seen on Vimeo with English subtitles.