Today is Jour de la Bastille, which means, we should celebrate France. So, for this week’s crop of Short Films for You! we have 6 shorts that are either French or take place in France. These are all subtitled in English or shot in English. Without further ado, les voilà:
L’accordeur aka The Piano Tuner (2010, 14 min)
A piano tuner with a secret visits clients and tunes pianos, one day, he is faced with a much different situation than his usual. This short starts innocuously enough, following this piano player. As things get clearer about him, he gets puts in a situation that is no so harmless, building tension and adding a twist to things that may not have been predictable to most. This short by Olivier Treiner and starring Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet is a solid piece of filmmaking with a strong central performance, good cinematography, and an interesting last third. You can watch L’accordeur here.
On s’embrasse? aka Shall We Kiss? (2000, 6min)
A young woman arrives at a café and spots a man sitting alone, she approaches him and demands he help her learn her lines for her audition. This short takes a fairly simple premise and makes it much more than that within its short few minutes of runtime. Written and directed by Pierre-Olivier Mournas, this short feels very French in style and in how it goes along with its story. The 6 minutes here are well used and the ending is where the emotional impact really comes in. This is an effective short that works well as a quick watch and shows how sometimes, 6 minutes is all you need to tell a story. You can watch On s’embrasse here.
I Can Hear the Sun (2020, 9min)
In this short directed, written, produced, and edited by Leanne Sta Ana, a young girl is playing in a backyard, talking about lemons, showing them, describing them. This short can be looked at as an experimental film, something that is indeed very fitting. It’s an interesting look into a small piece of life for a girl. This short mixes images, narration, and music to great effect. Watch I Can Hear the Sun here.
La Boulangerie (2017, 14min)
While technically British, this short film takes place in France, in the small village of Castillonnès where a girl and her father run a bakery. One day, the British are in town and she is instructed to give them the bread made for them. However, after meeting one of them, she is not so sure about allowing that messed up tradition, thus changing the course of things with one simple gesture. This short is sweet and shows talent from the cast, crew, and just about everyone involved. Director/writer Luke Jin shows that a short runtime can be used effectively. You can watch La Boulangerie here.
Dernière nuit (2013, 5min28)
Inspired by a poet by Garig Basmadjia about the last night on Earth, filmmaker Dessil Basmadjian creates images to represent this poem by his father who disappeared in 1989. The film takes images and merges them with the text, giving it life and bringing beautiful imagery to the screen. The story is not so linear and it’s not what matters in this experimental short. Watch Dernière nuit here in French and here in English.
Les Affamés (2018, 21min12)
From director Pierre Udren, this slightly longer short film may not take place in France, but is very much French in its creation. Following a man returning the Crusades alone and a leper, the film shows how he lives until a woman shows up at his tent, asking for help. This an interesting period piece short showing that just above 20 minutes can be plenty to create a setting, tell a story, and have stakes be raised quickly. The film is very well shot and the acting is solid. Well worth it’s time and possibly worth exploring in longer form should it ever come to be. You can watch Les Affamés here.