This week’s short is a hallucinating, experimental film by Belgium filmmaker Nicolas Provost. Put on your headphones and get mesmerized.
By subjecting fragments from the feature film ‘Rashomon‘ by Akira Kurosaw, and using a mirroring technique, Provost creates a hypnotic, surreal montage.
The original Kurosawa scene involves the testimony of a newly widowed woman, played by Machiko Kyo, who tells the judge that she witnessed the murder of her husband. But with this non-dialogue short, Provost takes away the surface, more conventional, narrative but still manages to tell an incredible story and leaving you the chance to interpret it your own way. He replaces all the dialogue with an incredible soundtrack and shifts his focus on movement and rhythm and the butterfly-like transformation of the female figure.
The track ‘The Wrath of Köhn,’ by Belgian musician Jürgen de Blonde (working under the alias Köhn), combined with the manipulated footage, will bring you in some sort of hypnotic, dreamy stage, only to suddenly put your feet back on the ground with what sounds like distorted screams. At that exact point, the woman drops to the floor and everything changes. The footage speeds up, the surrounding area starts moving, and the transformation to butterfly becomes more clear. The combination of the up-tempo footage and the overwhelming sound makes it feel like she’s going to explode into a butterfly. But at the end something different happens and it’s like after exploding, the butterfly implodes and fades away along with the music. It’s as beautiful as it is moving.
Papillon d’Amour is Provost’s second foray into this mirroring technique following 2001’s Pommes d’amour, in which he repurposed footage from Hiroshima Mon Amour and Ingmar Bergman’s Summer Interlude. The age of computer technology has made it possible to alter footage in this manner. In an interview with the Flanders Arts Institute, Provost noted that “the digital revolution made it possible to upload films on your computer or laptop and easily re-edit them yourself, just at home. So I started sculpting existing material almost by accident.”
Besides an honorable mention at the 2004 Sundance Flim Festival, and lots of other nominations and prices, Papillon d’Amour was also displayed at 2014 Go Short Festival, in Paul Wright’s ‘’Carte Blanche’’ program.