Saturday, February 14, 2009
Day Two: Peur(s) du noir (2007) - Rank 5/5
It's rare for a film to fill me with the desire to watch it again immediately after finishing it. I'd say once every six months a film does this to me. Danny Boyle's "Sunshine," "The Dark Knight" and "There Will Be Blood" are a few recent films that fell into this category. "Peur(s) du Noir" aka "Fear(s) of the Dark" fit the bill not only for its enthralling tales, but also for the gorgeous artistry displayed on screen. The film is a five piece anthology of eerie tales, each written and animated in varying, black-and-white styles by prominent French, graphic artists. The best of the tales is the final one - a dialog-free piece about a man who finds sanctuary in an abandoned home during a blizzard, only to come to the slow realization that he may not be alone after all. Out of all the pieces, it really takes advantage of the black-and-white medium the best to restrict what the audience can see, building a fantastic sense of dread.
Another strong piece was the fourth in the series - a story about a man looking back on his childhood to a time where his village was haunted by a man-killing beast. It may have been a giant crocodile or it may have been his best friend... Every cell was done in charcoal making it a beauty to behold. Even the most terrifying scenes in the film boast artwork and style rarely seen in animated films today. The eerie visage of a nobleman who terrified the country with his rabid dogs is made more unsettling by the crude sketch design.
The play of light and shadow enhances the surreal sex scene between a college student and his possessed girlfriend (in possibly the most unnerving scene in the film, she's seen to morph and become more masculine as she forces herself onto the protagonist).
Clearly the artists involved with the film are masters at their trade. They've compiled a wonderful anthology of short films that chill while dazzling the eye. It saddens me that the film didn't receive greater recognition (i.e. an Academy Award nom. for Best Animated Feature).
Watch the Trailer