Silhouette Film Festival – Parc de Buttes Chaumont, Paris.

By Ed Millar and Jen Wallace

An intrepid gang of ÉCUers made their way to the beautiful Parc de Buttes Chaumont to watch one night of the Silhouette Film Festival. The film festival is in its 10th year and is an outdoor event with films from all over the world projected onto an inflatable screen next to the lake. Here, ÉCU writers Jen and Ed, share their opinions on the festival and the films.

Jen: So Ed, this was your first film festival in Paris – What was your overall impression of the organisation of the event?

Ed: I though the whole thing was organised really well to be honest. When we first arrived there was a singer which started the evening off with a nice atmosphere. Once the screen was up and the films started playing, I was really impressed by the programming and the selection of films, as Silhouette managed to show a really varied group of films whilst still maintaining a sense of togetherness and avoiding the disjointed feeling which can pose a problem when screening short films.

Jen: Out of the 6 films we saw, what was the standout one for you? Personally I really liked Kwa Heri Mandima (Goodbye Mandima), by Robert-Jan Lacombe, a filmmaker at the Lausanne Film School. I loved how he narrated the story of his departure from his childhood country of Zaire to France with photographs accompanying the voiceover. Overall it was a very moving portrait of the division between the natives and the Europeans living there, and the final scene where static becomes motion was skilfully presented.

Ed: I have to agree with you that that was one of the most moving films of the evening, but personally I really enjoyed APELE TAC (fleuve silencieux), which told the story of two Romanians crossing the Danube in 1985 to flee the dictatorship. It was my favourite of the night because it was full of suspense and the cinematography when they were crossing the river was amazing – it really put me right in the story. I think the film we really disagreed on though was The exterior world… what did you think of it?

Jen: I loved it! And I have watched it again recently and I still stand by my opinion. It’s mad, surreal, crude and bloody, but at least it was adventurous and put a lot of people out of their comfort zones! And the graphics were incredible, I enjoyed being trapped inside that wacky world for 20 minutes. What made you have the opposite reaction?

Ed: The main problem for me was that not only did I not understand the message of it, I wasn’t even sure there was a message! As you say the graphics were good, but for me that is not enough unless it is supported by a message I can connect with. I didn’t enjoy the wacky world, I couldn’t connect with it. That’s what’s great about short films though, everyone has different opinions!

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