Paul Cabon’s Tempête sur Anorak (Storm Hits Jacket) won the Short Jury Award for Animation at Sundance 2015. Recently screened by Picturehouse alongside the other winners, it is an absolute riot and stands out as the best of the bunch.
Although utterly bonkers, the short is spectacularly tonally assured. The bizarre and futuristic sci-fi plot somehow meshes effortlessly with a brand of madcap humour that provokes comparisons to Monty Python while remaining unique. It’s consistently hilarious, often thanks to a habit of characters breaking the fourth wall and delivering lines in total deadpan.
Despite the crude and naïve animation which continually foregrounds artifice and fantasy world-building, Tempête sur Anorak is impressively immersive. Point of view shots and expert editing lend a snappy pace, yet Cabon also conveys a surprising amount about his minimally verbal characters.
Among the madness of storming cows (Tempête de vaches would be an equally fitting title) and oblique inventions, Tempête sur Anorak makes room for hinting at a potential romance and suggests love triangle-esque jealousy between the male friends. By entering the mind of the boys’ female saviour and dramatising her fantasy Cabon provides the film’s most surreal moment of humour.
Although these three characters are the narrative and emotional centre of the film, peripheral details secure just as many laughs. A standout is a blue-haired surfer woman glimpsed briefly as she determinedly marches towards the churning sea, complete with a companion grabbing at her ankles and frantically attempting to dissuade her.
A flexible approach to animation style further contributes to the short’s consistent and joyful ability to surprise, with some creative fight sequences represented with drawing that becomes loose and sprawling, not unlike the visualisation of sudden bursts of anger in Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
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DIRECTOR: Paul Cabon
WRITER: Paul Cabon
SYNOPSIS: A storm reaches the shores of Brittany. Nature goes crazy, two young scientists get caught up in the chaos. Espionage, romantic tension, and mysterious events clash with enthusiasm and randomness.