Peur(s) Du Noir
by Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti and Richard McQuire
Marie Caillou's entry, like much of her work, fuses Japanese and French culture. A young Japanese girl is bullied at school and finds no respite in dreaming. Her nightmares are David Cronenberg-esque, full of humanoid horrors and animals given horrific new forms. Lorenzo Mattotti's is next and he wins the atmospheric prize. A young boy in an African village recounts an episode from his childhood when a friend went missing. Everyone blamed a monster they could not see or prove existed and the authorities went into a fury trying to catch it. The truth is logical but the story is fantastic. Richard McQuire's playful segment closes the film. A man walks in from a snowstorm into a seemingly abandoned house. There are no lights so he tries to maneuver his way about the place, finding remnants of the house's former inhabitants, scaring himself at every opportunity. Having had his fill of the place, he tries to leave, but he finds it harder than he anticipated.
Lorenzo Mattotti's gets the highest grade from me. Its style is brilliant, a slate grey recreation of an imagined hysteria, the sort you'd expect of the tale Mattotti and writer Jerry Kramsky tell. I think it's no coincidence that it reminded me of many old folk tales, like that of Anansi the Spider or Quetzalcoatl. It gets to what makes tales like this so enchanting: their mystery. It isn't scary, per se, but its knee deep in noir. The beautiful landscapes and claustrophobic interiors are as gorgeous as they are evocative. Mattotti has a gift for story telling. He shows little but says so much. That his story is in the end not supernatural at all makes this all the more effective. He simply puts a frightening spin on modern life and let's implication follow us into our nightmares.