French cinema has long subverted the rules of filmmaking for the sake of pushing the medium forward. While artist and auteur Danny Sangra isn’t French, his film “Odile et Michel” takes place in Paris and utilizes the native language—putting both to use with wit and charm. Over the course of three minutes, Odile seeks an explanation for why her boyfriend Michel has been ignoring her requests for contact. The concept is one you might find in ’60s New Wave, but the reveal is very present day. All the while, the film’s eccentricities and self-referential nature make for an enjoyable, light-hearted experience. The short is clever, concise and comedy at its best.
Sangra works across multiple media, creating works within the worlds of film, design, illustration and video art. His prolific artistic body has been showcased around the world. “Odile et Michel” was shot in Paris during May 2014—”after I’d finished shooting two commercials. I filmed it while we were editing the two other videos,” Sangra shares with CH. “I’ve been interested in working in different languages. So when I joined Control Films—who rep me in France—I thought it would be a good idea to make something in French to see how I can work with French actors speaking a language that’s not my own. I wrote something that had a reason to be made in a different language.”
Sangra notes that he came up with concept a few years ago but felt, “It couldn’t be just a stylistic thing.” He tells us the actual storyline was fully realized, however, “When a friend of mine started talking about an episode of the Kardashians in the pub. He then stopped and realized what he was talking about and who he was talking to. We are all influenced by our partners for better or worse.” And sometimes that leads to a very funny disconnect, which the filmmaker captures perfectly in “Odile et Michel.”
Images courtesy of Danny Sangra