Putsch — power play in a community of human-like creatures

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Putsch is a peculiar little short film that is as compelling as it is disturbing. Its the combinations of human and animal characteristics that strike a cord with the squeamish part of me. Perhaps it serves as a reminder that we are all animals after all, and it does not take a lot for our more instinctive behaviours to come to the fore. Putsch was a final project for a group of students at MOPA: L’École du cinéma d’animation. Florent Bossoutrot initiated the concept, Julie Artigny helmed the direction, and the rest of the team, Lisa Bouët, Claire Courrier, and Camille Savary completed most of the animation, rigging, 3D rendering, and effects.

The 3D film is short, and yet it is driven more by character rather than narrative. The animation team began with the protagonists — sketching out the characters, mapping put their lives, their attributes, and habits. Then they decided on the story. The result is does feel like a community of strange creatures, all coexisting, but without much interaction. They are largely occupied with their daily affairs. The ordinary folk are watched over by the clear leader who lounges on a high rock. That is, until a visitor who is brought in by a traitor upsets the order of things.

The makers of the film describe the creatures as humans who have adopted various animal-like characteristics (try to guess them all, that’d half the fun). But some of them certainly look more animal than human. The blended sense of familiarity and otherness produces an uncanny effect. Check it out inject a bit of weird into your Wednesday.