“City Paradise” (2005).
This is a short (nominated in 2005 for a BAFTA) that I’ve loved since I saw it nearly six-years-ago. Gaëlle Denis, a french-born twenty-something-year-old living in London tells a story of a foreigner feeling out of place in a new land–something we’ve all felt to some degree at one time or another.
What I love about this short (aside from its audio and visual excellence) is that it truly captures the essence of what it feels like to feel alien in another culture. From the way that Tomoko’s (the young Japanese woman) legs are shaped in contrast to the rest of the Londoners’, to the depressing old, stained wallpaper and ugly carpet in her cramped room, to the emphasis of noise and extraneous sound of a big city– every second and every aspect of the six minute film is completely deliberate and yet seemingly effortless. Visually, it’s incredible. The combination of animation stitched onto film is a technique Denis has honed, and I don’t entirely understand it– she mixes 2D/3D animation and digital ink and paint. The score is fantastic as well, using samples to create a continuous white noise of austere city isolation and mixing in Joanna Newsom’s ‘Peach, Plum, Pear’ at the story’s end for uplifting and fitting closure.
The other awesome thing about it is that, because it’s so short, you can watch it over and over and over again and it won’t get old.