After four days of GIRAF, you might think we’d be a little overloaded on animation right now. But, no. The fact that our festival is over just means it’s time to dig into some of the films that almost made the cut—ones that we would’ve loved to show off, but they didn’t fit into a pack for one reason or another. Not because they weren’t beautiful, but just because the stars didn’t quite align.
Panacée is one of those films. In its broad strokes, it’s similar to one of this year’s most popular online shorts—Scavengers, from Joseph Bennett and Charles Huettner. Both are about explorers trapped on distant worlds that seem to defy logic, or at least play by a completely different set of rules from Earth. But where Scavengers gets its thrills from witnessing the convoluted chain of actions that its heroes use to reach their goal—the satisfaction of watching someone solve a complex puzzle, basically—Panacée is more dreamlike, revelling in the mystery without bothering to explain it.
Instead of a puzzle to be solved, Panacée is a landscape to be admired, with gorgeous artwork that recalls Moebius’ elegant lines, imaginative structures and twilit colours. I’d love to see its world expanded, to get more of a sense of how it works, and why. But better to want more than to wear out the audience. Sometimes a taste is as good as a meal.