Thursday, April 06, 2006

Renaissance–Memories of Black

The morsels of the Renaissance I sampled at the Louvre earlier in the day were not sufficient it seems. I went to see the new French release Renaissance this evening - another jump into the world of unsubtitled French film - and was very pleased that I did.

Renaissance is set in the Paris of 2054. It's a noir-ish crime-thriller which owes borrows from the Blade Runner tradition (some Vangelis-y piano themes, progeria element and more) except that instead of downtown LA, we have futuristic Pigalle at the base of Montmartre and a lowered Seine covered with glass walkways. This future is presented via a highly stylized animated film, using performance-capture techniques (more akin to Waking Life than Andy Serkis' roles in Gollum or Kong) and is a step beyond Sin City in many ways. Stripping everything down to black and white - and you'll never see a blacker film - allows many subtle visual effects to be mounted in a way that could never be achieved with live action. When all is white or seemingly transparent, then things are usually at their worst.

A synopsis in English here, and in French at the official site ici (which has video samples). I was able to follow most of the plot from the action and snatches of dialog.

Apparently the US distributor is Disney - so we should be able to look forward to a general release before long. Word of mouth may hurry it along. Much of the text shown in the film is in English rather than French, and it seemed to me that the lipsynching of the voice-characters didn't match the body-actors well enough to convince me that they weren't actually speaking French but English. Overly-observant viewers will notice that they do use AZERTY rather than QWERTY keyboard layouts.

There's also a bandes-dessinee of the film.

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