Topic: The Brickfilm Feature: Strange French films (September 29, 2017)
I would like to bring attention to a contest that is being run by our French friends at Brick à Brack on behalf of The LEGO Group. LEGO requested that they host the Thor: Ragnarok Contest to tie in with the upcoming Marvel film and related LEGO sets. The contest is for short brickfilms starring Thor, and the deadline is October 29. The contest is open to worldwide entries and the announcement and rules are in English, so make sure to check it out!
With that in mind, I decided this edition of The Brickfilm Feature should have a French theme. While France has given us some of the greatest brickfilms ever made, there is another area that has piqued my interest and has been on the cards for a feature. I have noticed a bit of a trend among French (and French Canadian) brickfilmers to create short and quirky films based on a single novel concept or experimental animation technique. Due to these films usually being rather strange, I affectionately refer to them as "French insanity films". Fittingly, this type of film is often made for Brick à Brack's popular animation challenge, which seems to attract more filmic entries than the animation challenge on BiM. I love these films as there is a great sense of fun to be found in them. They also seem like a good way to release films more frequently, rather than just leave the ideas as tests. I have chosen 10 films by 5 directors, which may look like a lot but actually comes out to about 9 minutes total viewing time. There is no language barrier.
EARWAX by Loïc F-B (2013)
Hand'Shoes by Loïc F-B (2013)
Choo choo! by Loïc F-B (2011)
This is the French Canadian portion of the feature. Loïc F-B has been around on both BàB and BiM for a long time, and though he hasn't released a film in a couple of years, he remains active as an admin of Brick à Brack and is participating in hosting the Thor: Ragnarok Contest. One problem with this feature is that it's often the case with with these types of films that the less is said, the better. I will say that EARWAX is well voiced by Loïc and Squid, Hand'Shoes features an excellent interpretation of the animation challenge theme "Walking on Hands", and Choo choo!... Well, you just need to watch Choo choo!.
Snif. by Aiwha (2016)
A good example of how a single LEGO piece can inform a brickfilm's entire concept, Snif. features so little animation that it becomes impressive. Beautiful set design, comedic timing and effective sound design ensure it to be a satisfying one-joke short. It also has one of the best couches I have seen in a brickfilm, and all of those sloped pieces make me want to see someone animate some springy couch physics.
Compagnons d'armes by Tip'motion (2015)
Vers l'infini et au-delà by Tip'motion (2013)
Bubble Gum by Tip'motion (2012)
Tip'motion is a creative animator. I would compare his filmography to that of CheesyBricks, with not a lot of fleshed-out projects but always something inventive to see. Compagnons d'armes is an amusing role reversal, when you realise what is going on. It was the winner of the animation challenge theme "Fighting Sounds". Vers l'infini et au-delà is probably the closest thing to a test on this list, but the effect is very well executed and made me laugh. I also notice he cut a string piece to make a more appropriate cannon fuse. Bubble Gum is a fun idea that makes great use of cartoon sound effects. If you like this type of stuff, I'd recommend looking around his channel further.
BreadHard by MBstudio (2015)
Rather self-explanatory, really; the bread is mysteriously hard. I think the name "BreadHard" alone is funny. Apart from the carb-based action, this film also features some nice weather shots at the beginning and amusing voice acting at the end. This was created for an animation challenge on Bricks in Motion, not Brick à Brack.
Poussez by Gabrielle P. and agent- (2015)
Concours 8*8 by agent- (2010)
I suppose you could say Poussez is like France's answer to About a Door, and that's all I think I should say about that one. I think I have saved the best for last with Concours 8*8. This is a film that was created for the first 8*8*8 contest, a French contest in which films are made within a space 8 studs wide and deep, and 8 bricks high. This film features a singing Chewbacca and, though it wasn't exactly contest-winning material, I found it absolutely hilarious when I found it. The original upload is available on Dailymotion, but I decided to link to my own Google Drive upload because the related videos on Dailymotion sometimes seem surprisingly inappropriate. If you want the original link, it is here.
I wish good luck to Brick à Brack with the Thor: Ragnarok Contest! Here's hoping it receives a good number of entries. Let me know in the replies if anyone from here plans to enter. I think for the next feature I write, I'll try for less films and more words.