Clermont-Ferrand Festival 2023: watch “Écorchée”, by Joachim Hérissé

During the 45th edition of the International Short Film Festival, which takes place until February 4, “Télérama” shares its favorites. Today, a very poetic and DIY animated film by Joachim Hérissé.

This movie is a nightmare. Literally. But a little dirty, given the perversions and deadly impulses that unfold there. Consider two Siamese twins, the Ecorchée and the Bouffie, linked by a leg. They live in a hovel lost in the fog, surrounded by willows that only weep. In the garden, stacked rabbit cages form a precarious tower and a sturdy pantry. At the end of the garden, a river, where an empty boat regularly passes, frail hope of escaping this life of misery punctuated by the same daily ritual, a bit toxic.

When her belly growls, the Bouffie implores her fragile Siamese to climb the ladder with her to grab the dinner by the ears. L’Écorchée then, reluctantly, skins the animal which will end up delicately simmered by her care, before being devoured by La Bouffie. She will content herself with nibbling on raw vegetables, probably out of disgust for the carnivorous bulimia of her gluttonous sister, whose only sign of affection consists in recovering the skin of rabbits to make a foot warmer. After the meal, the big one imposes, again, on the skinny one a waltz and a hug with an incestuous scent. “Pleasure of love lasts only a moment / Sorrow of love lasts a lifetime”, spits out the old blood-red record eater.

Very rare – too rare! – are the animated films to venture into such gloomy settings with such twisted characters, which we are more used to finding in horror cinema. The couple of conjoined twins torn in their bodies and in their heads evokes the families of degenerate cannibals of the masters of seventies horror: the Wes Craven of The hills Have Eyes or the Tobe Hooper of Chainsaw Massacre. The stop-motion animation of rag dolls who think they’re Frankenstein is reminiscent of vincent, Tim Burton’s cult short. Could the nightmarish, nocturnal and river atmosphere, with this mysterious boat which passes and returns in a loop, have its source in the flight of the children from The hunter’s night ?

Beyond the more or less unconscious references, we have there, without a shadow of a doubt, a filmmaker with character, endowed with an unconventional personal universe, who does not hesitate to free himself from the limits a little limitations of traditional animation cinema. We admire her very poetic and do-it-yourself way of breathing life into scraps of fabric (hats off to visual artist Aline Bordereau, who created the dolls) or of making blood flow with woolen threads. The number of projects cited in the interview below leaves us with one certainty: we will soon hear about Joachim Hérissé again. — Jeremiah Couston

Interview with director Joachim Hérissé

Who are you ?
I am Joachim Hérissé, I am 43 years old. My first name is pronounced in the Angevin way: “Jo ache un”. It’s a real distinctive sign since, outside of my native Anjou, the pronunciation of this first name is always the first subject of discussion when I meet.

Your background before this film?
Very early on, I wanted to make films. I started as a child with my sister, my cousins, my friends and friends. But we rarely finalized our films, and that frustrated me enormously. As a high school student, I discovered 3D software and quickly fell in love with this tool, which this time would allow me to finish an (animated) film on my own! I didn’t finish any of them… but I quickly found work in special effects and animation studios in Paris and learned a fairly broad spectrum of animation professions on the job.

After several years of work as a graphic designer and 3D animator in the studios, I had the opportunity to write and produce two animation series for Canal+ Jeunesse which have the particularity of having a rendering close to animation techniques. traditional paper cut.

Subsequently, tired of the 3D tool, I decided to completely switch to traditional animation, starting to write projects in volume animation of puppets [stop motion] and setting up a production company, Komadoli Studio.

Why this short film today?
With Flayed, I first wanted to rediscover the feelings of fear that I had as a child when my brother told me “scary” stories during our evenings. I also wanted to express sensations from feverish nightmares where I could feel my body going from a hollow state to a full state, in a cyclical way, again and again, throughout the night. To represent these two states of my body I wrote these characters, l’Écorchée and la Bouffie, of conjoined twins joined by one leg.

Director Joachim Hérissé.

Photo Sonia Grandame

If the writing of the screenplay was done quite naturally, the visual writing was more laborious. I had to find a universe strong enough to find these sensations from nightmares. After several unsuccessful attempts, I had a revelation: the textile material was the ideal material for expressing bodily sensations, because the fiber of the fabric reminded me of the muscle fibers of a skinned body. By typing on the Internet the keywords “Textile” and “Skinned”, I discovered the textile skinned beef of visual artist Aline Bordereau. His universe overwhelmed me. I contacted her and offered her a collaboration. Aline very quickly understood my intentions, which echoed her own work, and she made the original puppets for the film.

Name three filmmakers or three films that made you want to make films, that influenced you?
I will name three directors with very different backgrounds and styles. Paul Verhoeven, Garri Bardine and Patrice Chéreau. This cocktail reflects quite well my love for cinema in all its forms and genres.

“The animation is inseparable from the short format. Firstly for artistic reasons, it is the ideal format to develop strong graphic or plastic universes. And then for economic reasons.”

What is your profession: short filmmaker?
I’m a jack-of-all-trades and I’ve found stop motion animation to be an ideal playground. Animation, scenario, production, decoration, modelling, photography, 3D graphics, hacking… what I like above all in stop-motion animation is the variety of disciplines that we can, that we must practice. This multiplication of hats allows us to maintain an amateur practice, literally, of the cinema.

Animation is inseparable from the short format. Firstly for artistic reasons, it is the ideal format for developing strong graphic or plastic universes – there is total freedom in the narration. And then for economic reasons. Four months of shooting for a short animated film in volume is expensive…

After the short, necessarily the long?
In animation, this shift from short to long is not necessarily natural. A strong graphic or plastic universe will not necessarily be suitable for the long format. But as a good jack-of-all-trades, I’m still very attracted to the long format. I am currently writing a feature film project. I also continue to explore my anxieties by developing a horror anthology series project entitled DOLLS, which takes up the visual universe and the themes offlayed, especially bodily anxieties. This project is supported in development by the National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC) and by the Pays de la Loire Region.

I am also in the process of writing a medium-length animated puppet film of raw clay and cooked clay. A musical film against a backdrop of dark romance confronting sedentary and nomadic people, supported, in writing, by the CNC. Finally, I finished the script for a comic strip which is being drawn by Marion Bulot, a wonderful illustrator. The comic strip will be published at the end of 2023 by Dargaud.

Your story with Clermont?
It will be my first time. I heard a lot about the festival, always good, very good even. So I’m looking forward to it.

The best short film of the last ten years?
The variety is such that it is very difficult for me to name just one. I would say Pepe the Walrus, by Lucrezia Andreae. This family chaos touched me a lot.

The best short film of all time?
It is a cruel exercise… I will quote a film of Garri Bardin, conflict. In this animated gem, and in many other films by this Russian director, the technique and materials used take center stage in the narrative. I feel deeply rooted in this vision of stop motion animation.

We would love to thank the author of this post for this incredible content

Clermont-Ferrand Festival 2023: watch “Écorchée”, by Joachim Hérissé

You can find our social media profiles here as well as other related pages here