VIFF Film & Television Trade Forum
On Saturday, October 7, Sarah Caufield, host of Monday’s No Show, saw Renaissance, one of the very few animated films at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. This is what she learned about the dark future of Paris in 2054, where everyone strangely speaks English.
Take these ingredients: a futuristic, dystopian Paris, a society obsessed with youth and beauty, and all the darkness and bad weather necessary for a film noire ambiance. And then add some of the most striking animated graphics to be seen at this year’s Film Festival. Add these up, and you’ll have Renaissance, a France/Luxembourg/UK production that may not push the boundaries of the film noire genre, but certainly looks snazzy.
Karas (voiced by the newest James Bond, Daniel Craig) is the stone-faced cop on a search for a woman who’s gone missing just as she was on the verge of some important medical discovery. The audience is left to figure out what, why, who, and all the twists that follow, as Karas investigates, chases suspects, and ignores orders.
It’s all the typical ingredients for a film noir, and overall, unfortunately, Renaissance plays as one would expect, without really pushing the boundaries of the genre. Instead, the filmmakers seem to have chosen to put their effort into the visuals of the film. At times the script is lacking, and the plot twists aren’t as shocking as one would hope. However, the film looks amazing. The choice was made to colour the film in strict black and white, starkly contrasted, yet maintaining an incredible amount detail. Even scenes set in daylight have a deeply shadowed feel, upholding the feeling of suspicion throughout. Because the one thing that’s always for certain in a film noir is that nothing is as straightforward, cut’n’dry, or black and white as it might seem.
Don’t watch Renaissance expecting it to turn the film noir genre upside down. But if you’re interested in beautiful animation, a bit of a mystery, and don’t mind a script that takes second place to visuals, this might be right up your alley.
Renaissance is only one of the films at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival, which runs from September 28 until October 13. For more information, check out the festival’s website at http://www.viff.org.