Hello folks and welcome to a late night addition of Food for Thought! For this issue we take a quick look at some of the animated work produced at Gobelins L’Ecole de L’image. For those of you who don’t know, Gobelins is a school of visual communication located in Paris that is dedicated to the visual arts with a particularly stunning animation program. Some of its most notable alumni include Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me), and Bibo Bergeron (A Monster in Paris and The Road to El Dorado amongst other films), as well as other students who have moved on to work for Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and more.
Luckily for those of us who trawl the Internet, you don’t need to wait for the next animated movie sensation to see some of the brilliant work put out by Gobelins students — they have their own YouTube page that hosts some brilliant shorts that will definitely leave you hungry for more.
The beauty of these shorts are in their ability to visually direct a story without much need for dialogue. Of course, they are also a few minutes each, made to highlight technique rather than to provide a full-length or even television-sized feature. But, these animated shorts are merely a taste of what is to come for the future of the animation industry, and what they may not pack in length they certainly more than make up for it with heart.
Perhaps one of the best known Gobelins animation is “In Between”, which circulated ’round tumblr rather quickly following its September 2012 release. Like the other Gobelins animations it is a very short piece, yet it is powerfully able to personify social anxiety through the interactions of its (rather cute) heroine and her “crocodile”. Gestures and color-schemes along with brief dialogue are what move this plot–and the short satisfies without having to overextend dialogue or explanation, while at the same time portraying a heartfelt look at how people deal with social anxiety.
“In Between” is unique amongst Gobelins short films for its use of dialogue; the other addictive shorts take on the difficult task of telling a story through visuals, sound, and mood. Another plus for the Gobelin films are in the various styles and story-lines that student animators explore — ranging from light-hearted comics to other “heavy” works that deal with social issues, all done in a rather succinct and visually gripping way.
“Social anxiety” may be a favorite theme — and if “In Between” was too cutesy for your taste, “Distance” definitely pushes the envelope when it comes to style. This short depicts the high-school scene as a jumble of wild beasts and friendly faces (All well-timed to the background music, by the way) — and really, it’s not too far from the truth.
Other notable shorts from Gobelins include this allegorical depiction of the Irish Civil War, that personifies murals from the Unionist and Republican sides as they lock in combat:
Or for those of you who prefer the macabre and dark humor there is “Who’s Afraid of Mr. Greedy” to keep you up at night:
Honestly, the list goes on and on — with all of the Gobelins animation fresh, vibrant, and a particularly beautiful example of how a story can be told well through visuals alone. The Gobelins channel is definitely worth a look for its looks and charm, as well as the excitement over the fact that hey animation is still a thriving art.
And there really is nothing better than settling down with a nice cup of tea and browsing through the Gobelins archives to see just what could very well be on the horizon–for if these are the fruits of “short film” labors, imagine the possibilities for feature-length animation directed by future alumni. So again, if you’re looking for a little inspiration, or some tasteful animations to soothe your soul, then head over to Gobelins and set yourself up for a real animated treat.