25th Animation Division New Face Award
Animated short film
Nayla NASSAR / Edouard PITULA / Renaud DE SAINT ALBIN / Cécile ADANT / Anaïs SASSATELLI［France］
Set in 1982 in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, the work depicts the interaction between Nicolas, who is leaving his hometown to escape the civil war, and Naji, a reckless teenager who is determined to go to the swimming pool. Nicolas travels across the city of Beirut, caught up in the war, to protect the boy from the bombing of fighter planes and tanks as he advances for the mere reason of going swimming. However, when they arrive at the abandoned swimming pool, they find that the water has dried up. The boy is disappointed. Although set against the backdrop of a city ravaged by civil war, the animation has a magical brightness thanks to the colorfulness and the uplifting actions of the two characters.
Reason for Award
With smooth scene changes bridging different dimensions, the creators captured the progress of the civil war which took place in Beirut before they were born, trying to pass down the story to the next generation. Watching the work for the first time, I immediately felt their strong commitment to animation production. Immersive camerawork, such as used in FPS games, draws audiences into a space that appears like a regular, highly saturated artboard at first. The story unfolds as the protagonists’ edgy performances and bold, seemingly hand-drawn effects add a pop tone to the screen. The youthfulness of the boy, who is determined to reach the pool despite being in a harsh situation, overlaps the mentality of the production team, who dedicated themselves to unfettered visual expression. (MIZUSAKI Jumpei)