19th Animation Division Excellence Award
Yùl and the Snake
Animated short film
Gabriel HAREL [France]
A coming-of-age story conceived from the creator’s own childhood experiences of living in the south of France. 13-year-old boy Yùl accompanies his brother Dino as he goes to strike a deal with Mike, a local thug who brings along a large guard dog, only to be confronted with violence and humiliation. But when Yùl is cornered, a mysterious snake appears. . . This is the first animated work the creator has directed, shot first as a live-action film with real actors, and then rendered as a 2D computer animation. Through this process, the work successfully creates a sense of reality in the composition and the interactions between the characters. As the monochromatic images move back and forth between realism and fantasy, the core of the story drawn in color accentuates this balance, and while only a short film, its distinctive style gives the work great expressive scope.
Reason for Award
It was a surprise to see such accuracy and depth of reality in the expressions of the characters’ feelings through simple, stripped-down illustrations. The acute sensations felt by the youths in a savage world controlled by violent power relations relate indirectly to current problems in Europe, indicating the work’s urgency and significance today. Suggestive of totemism (a religious belief in a special relationship between humans and plants or animals), the exchanges between the snake and the boy are fascinatingly symbolic of the desire for evil power that one cannot possess. The final explosion of anger by the marginalized bring Japanese yakuza films to mind. In going beyond simple heroism or revenge stories, the boy’s reaction to his brother after power relations are reversed is also superb. Though composed as an animated short film, its capacity to fill the imagination with the stories of each character before and after the event demonstrates the richness of this delicate yet powerful work. (YAMAMURA Koji)