Commissioned by Michelin-starred restaurant La Grenouillére, Danse Exquise looks nothing like your typical promotional film. But then, a restaurant that serves things like lobster served in a burning bush is probably not much interested in being typical. Neither is French experimental animation collective Quart Avant Poing (literally “Quarter before fist”), which is probably why the pairing of studio and subject works so well.

Danse Exquise is about food in the sense that it revolves around things that can be eaten, but beyond that, there’s no reason to see it as an ad for a restaurant. What it actually is, though, is much more difficult to describe. Computer-assisted 2D animation, certainly, but the actual techniques are more elusive, mixing what looks like collage, painting, and 3D rendering into an ever-shifting whole. More than anything, it looks like something out of a more coherent version of Google’s Deep Dream—that software’s psychedelic sheen is echoed in the shimmering palettes and dense lines of Quart Avant Poing’s creation. Playful, surreal and visually sumptuous, it’s a work that stands on its own, regardless of its commercial origins.

Danse Exquise

dir. Ulysse Lefort et Martin Wiklund

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