A quick short this week, but one that packs a lot into its two-minute run-time.
In his notes for his most recent film, Extrapolate, Johan Rijpma describes his process as “systematic but speculative,” and I don’t think it could be put better. All you need is the film’s title and first few seconds, and you can see exactly where it’s going—sort of. The rules are clear, taking a pair of points and extending them to a boundary. But then the film extends beyond the boundary, applying the same rules in a more unpredictable environment. Then it does it again, and again, using a predictable process to create unpredictable visuals. Set up an experiment, and follow it through to its conclusion.
His previous film, Descent, looks entirely different but functions in exactly the same way. Pick a set of rules, show them to the audience as clearly and concisely as possible, follow them to a conclusion, then apply the same rules to the outcome. But as interesting as Descent is, it isn’t as striking as Extrapolate. Having played both films at our festivals, the response was striking—Descent was appreciated, but Extrapolate had audiences enthralled. The sound design definitely deserves some credit for that—it’s wonderfully visceral—but most of it is a combination of Rijpma’s draftsmanship and the elegance of the film’s rules. Each frame is appealing on its own, but the satisfaction of seeing the process play out, first forwards and then in reverse, is impressively satisfying.
PS – For more on the process behind Extrapolate, be sure to read Rijpma’s detailed filmmaking notes.