GIRAF Animation Festival streaming Canada-wide Nov. 19-28

L'homme aux oiseaux

The story in L'homme aux oiseaux is storybook simple, but it isn't really about the plot. The heart of the film lies in the joy of watching colour and life spring from the soil.

Many boulders sit on grass. On top of a smaller boulder in the middle, several colourful birds sit. A small boy is next to the rock and has his arms up

Despite the snowfall warnings for this afternoon in Quickdraw's back yard, it's officially spring. To be fair, it might rain, or it might snow, which just reflects the fact that spring is a period of transition—not a hard and fast ending to winter, but a gradual thawing that's prone to the occasional blast of arctic air.

Created at La Poudriere, a French animation school that consistently puts out unique and accomplished work, Quentin Marcault's L'homme aux oiseaux contains a much more dramatic changing of the seasons. It may start off slowly, with springtime inching its way through the valley below a frozen mountain village. But once it gets going, there's no stopping it.

The story in L'homme aux oiseaux is storybook simple, but it isn't really about the plot. The heart of the film lies in the joy of watching colour and life spring from the soil. Marcault's thick-lined illustrations don't have a lot of detail, but he makes fantastic use of clear, simple gestures to convey emotion and move the story along. There's an economy to his storytelling that leaves room for humour and metaphor while keeping things moving at a brisk pace.

Still, the transformation is the most engrossing part of the film. Watching the snow retreat, instantly replaced by lush plant life—it's the stuff of fantasy. Calgary may need a bit more patience to see our own landscape fill with greenery, but it's nice to daydream.

dir: Quentin Marcault
syn: Seasons turn and spring is sprung when a boy flies the coop but lands the flock.

2018