Meeting your partner’s parents can be a nerve-wracking experience at the best of times, add a hostage situation into the mix and you’re now faced with a life-changing event. For Flora, her trip to meet her potential in-laws is hijacked by a band of women on horseback, who ultimately prompt her to make an important decision regarding her relationship. With 10-minute animated short Filles bleues, peur blanche (Blue Fear) co-directors Marie Jacotey and Lola Halifa-Legrand depict a familiar situation through a surreal lens, capturing the emotions at play with startling accuracy.
Lola Halifa-Legrand, who is also credited as the screenwriter, constructed a narrative based on an extremely mundane situation which most of us will be able to relate to. To add a fresh angle, increasing audience engagement, she gives her story a creative twist, allowing it to be appreciated as both a bizarre adventure and a psychological drama.
This clever surrealistic approach instantly makes Blue Fear more fun and engaging, but it also strengthens the emotional impact of the film. With the fantasy element working in favor of the narrative, easing the audience into the situation and its tone, before pushing the concept to its limits.
The unusual structure of the film will certainly keep its audience on its toes. The exposition is very quick and establishes a certain kinship with Flora and her situation. Then, when the ambush comes out of nowhere, the oddness of the situation injects the film with an extra level of intrigue and we’re hooked in for the rest of the film.
As the ambushing girls talk (the dialogue so sharply written and witty, making it all the more delightful to watch), we begin to put the pieces together, while also enjoying the unpredictability of this unrealistic setting. Finally, as Flora takes control and frees herself from the ghosts of the past, Blue Fear is wrapped on such an empowering note that it makes us root for not only her but for them as a couple.
A mythical, epic tale, Blue Fear should be credited for the fact that the imagery doesn’t act as a distraction from the narrative, instead, the visuals act to instil the film with an atmosphere that legitimizes its story. The animation style plays an important role in contributing to the general vibe of the film, with the color palette and the meticulous details on the characters and scenery all working to portray the emotional turmoil Flora is in, whilst also ensuring the short has a vibrant and unforgettable look.
To enjoy the film to its full potential, we strongly recommend turning the volume up as the soundtrack, in particular the songs by French band Bagarre, truly makes the film pulsate with a beat that gives its story a thrilling pace. Just like the short’s striking aesthetic, the music plays an important part in contributing to its entertaining qualities, while also echoing its main character’s state of mind, as she goes through the incredible events of that day.
Blue Fear was in the 2020 official selection of Cannes and is now hitting the festival circuit with an upcoming selection at the online edition of the 2021 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. It is available online for free as part of UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, alongside 19 other short films, that have played some of the biggest festivals worldwide.
You can browse the selection, which also includes features through different themes such as Crazy Loving Families or Love is Love, with Blue Fear in the True Heroines section. The easiest way to get your French film fix, MyFFF is online until February 15th. Once you’ve seen a film, don’t forget to vote.