Awarded the “Jean Luc Xiberras de la première oeuvre” award at Annecy 2010, Jean-François is another stellar short film to come out of France. Directed by Bruno Mangyoku and Tom Haugomat, the film was co-produced by Cube Creative, the french house that has employed such SotW familiar names as Louis Clichy and Carlos Lascano, along with that wonderful friend of animation, ARTE France.
The story is a bit vague and poetic, and at first I didn’t know what to make of it. A champion swimmer wins his race, and yet seems haunted by images from his childhood: a red and white buoy, his massive fisherman dad. He keeps a shell his dad gave him and looks at it before races. At 5min long you could ignore the story and just look at the pretty pictures, but if you think of the film less specifically and more generally, I think it will resonate for you as it now does for me. What makes a man push to be the best? Being a successful athlete requires a lot of sacrifice, something that we losers of the genetic lottery can, on occasion, forget. If that is kept in forefront in the mind when watching, then the images of the father and of childhood failure take on a more profound weight.