If Automne only consisted of Hugo de Faucompret’s hand-painted backdrops it would still be mesmerizing. The rolling hills and rocky landscapes are magnificent, and the story they tell of the passing of the seasons would make for a suitable—if straightforward—backdrop to the poem by Guillaume Apollinaire that gives the film its name. The beauty of the shifting seasons is rendered in delicate strokes, and de Faucompret’s compositions are alive even before he gives them personification in the form of a flowery sprite, a playful creature full of wonder and curiousity that brings life to the countryside it explores.
There’s a wonderful push-and-pull between Automne’s magical elements—the sprite and a lumbering giant of fog and rain who act as Miyazaki-esque inscrutable embodiments of nature—and the simple, human story that grounds the film. The central narrative is almost nonexistent, consisting of a brief glance, a moment of longing, and a new understanding. It’s so small in scale that it’s almost eclipsed by the majesty of nature, whether it’s in bloom, in fall, or somewhere in between, but its emotions come through in de Faucompret’s well-observed expressions.
In rendering the magic and the mundane with equal care, de Faucrompret seems to be saying that both scales are equally true, and equally resonant. The landscape and its inhabitants, the passing fantasy and the accepted reality, they exist in the same place and the same time, even as they’re largely unaware of each other. Summer green fades, subsumed by autumn’s gold, and there’s nothing to do but carry on.
dir: Hugo de Faucompret
syn: Here is the short movie I made for the collection “En sortant de l’école”. It’s a part of 13 short movies, each one gracely made by a different director from a poem written by Guillaume Apollinaire. Here is the one I chose to illustrate and to direct : “AUTOMNE”. Enjoy it!
TRANSLATION OF THE POEM :
In the fog a knock-kneed peasant
and his ox draw slowly away in the autumn fog
which hides the poor and shameful hamlets
and going away over there the peasant hums
a song of love and infidelity
which speaks of a ring and a heart that someone breaks
oh! Autumn, autumn has caused summer to die
in the fog two grey silhouettes draw away