Release Date: May 15th, 2008 (Cannes)
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Jacques Davidts, Phoebe Greenberg
Music by: Warren “Slim” Williams
Cast: Simone Chevalot, Luc-Martial Dagenais, Kenneth Fernandez
Phi, CBC, Canal+, 11 Minutes
“Next floor.” – Maître D’
Before wowing audiences with Sicario, The Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve made several short films that won him over with producers that would go on to fund his feature length projects. This short film made its debut at Cannes, a real accomplishment for the young director at the time.
This is only 11 minutes long but it makes its point pretty effectively in that time and with almost no dialogue.
I guess the most important thing about this short film is its style and the master craftsmanship behind it. Villeneuve showed that he had great skill, was able to create a well lived in set and had a stupendous eye for cinematography alongside Nicolas Bolduc, who would also go on to carve out a nice career.
The story is about this insane banquet where these fat cat types are violently and quickly scarfing down the strange meat selections of all the weird creatures and big game wheeled out to their large table. Every few minutes (or quicker, actually) the floor breaks and our dinner party falls into the room below. It’s a strange yet interesting idea but there doesn’t seem to be much point to it other than poking fun at gluttony in all of its forms.
There really isn’t much else to the film though. The dinner party goes through a floor, the waiters rush down a flight of stairs, wash, rinse, repeat until the big ending.
Still, the film looks damn good visually but there’s not much more to digest.
It also has what I consider to be a continuity error but I guess the filmmakers could argue that it’s their art. But after the group crashes through the first floor, one of the people looks up revealing that they’ve already been through several floors. The problem with this, is that all the people are very clean when you first see them. As the film progresses beyond the opening moments, they get more and more dirty from the building collapsing under and around them. Where is the dust and drywall from the previous floors before the film starts?
Anyway, that’s just me bitching about a small detail.
This is really just a concept and an idea executed pretty well. It’s not a great idea but it was at least interesting trying to decipher what was happening in the first few minutes.
Pairs well with: Denis Villeneuve shorts 120 Seconds to Get Elected and Rated R for Nudity.