Yesterday, I finally watched François Truffaut’s La Peau douce. The film is a revelation; cynical and warm at the same time. Theme is adultery and love – also a natural contradiction. Direction of the actors is so good it is invisible, but superb skills are evident in Françoise Dorléac’s performance. (Sadly, this French actress died way too young.) I’m surprised this specific film in Truffaut’s body of work isn’t even more recognized and talked about – not to mention seen. I loved it, and wholeheartedly recommend it. (DVD available at Play.)
Today, I continue my presentation of short films here on Subtitles to Cinema. This time, it is an animated Norwegian short film with the long, yet precise, title: There’s a man in the habit of hitting me on the head with an umbrella (2005). The film is directed by Cathinka Tandberg, and tells a story that is… well, quite evident in its title. A man finds himself in the situation of being hit in the head with an umbrella (by another man). The absurdist and simple plot is derived from a short story by Argentinian writer Fernando Sorrentino, and has become a charming and melancholic animated short. Watch the 4 minute film – embedded below or in higher quality (I’ll share more of my thoughts after you’ve seen it):
What I really appreciate in this well-composed film, is that the comical essence of the situation is not exploited into cheap laughs and slapstick [sic]. Instead, Tandberg gives room for a subtle tristesse and creates two vulnerable, slightly tragic characters. I love how the simply cut drawings tells us so much about who these men are. Also, the film is a great example of how dialogue can be replaced by clear actions, and also in this case; very expressive music and sound. I felt every tap of the umbrella against the man’s head. Having seen this wonderful short many times now, both in festivals and online, I can also assure you that it holds very well upon repeat viewings.
A side note; I discovered on YouTube that quite a few individuals have used the same Sorrentino short story as basis for their short films (not animated). They’re without the same success as Ms. Tandberg, but for the curious ones it makes for an interesting comparison. You can find them here, here and here. (Btw, it’s a shame that some of them fails to credit the author.)