Lively and Funny Moments of a Boring Subject

in 27th Montreal World Film Festival

by Esin Kücüktepepinar

What do you expect from a short film? That it be short, of course! You expect it to tell its story – whether complex or not – using the narrative techniques and visual language of cinema in an efficient and striking manner, and to surprise you once more with an idea which has prevailed since the very first artifacts of cinematic expression: perfection is concealed and also embedded in plainness.

Life and Death of a Boring Moment (Vie et mort d’un instant d’ennui) does all of these things. French short filmmaker Patrick Bossard tells a very simple story: the film opens with an actor (Patrick Pierron) and an actress (Anne Pourbaix) sitting at a table. Their performance of boring dialogue is interrupted by the intrusion, through the window behind them, of a gunman. They turn out to be actors doing a take of a scene in a film; and unfortunately for the actor being assaulted, he is also the director, whose previous film the intruder has seen and hated. And the funny moments immediately start with the intruder’s questions about that pretentious film and how painful it was to watch it, how it tortured the audience like a bad dream, etc. With this simple plot, Life and Death of a Boring Moment is interesting for its self-aware charm and its clever tweaking of art-house clichés, which is why we of the FIPRESCI jury gave it our short-film award.

42 years old director Patrick Bossard, who is known mainly for such brilliant short films as Banco (1999) and Hôtel Paradise (2001), wrote and directed Life and Death of a Boring Moment. He gives the juicy part of the intruder to the French actor, comedian and singer Yamin Dib, who makes the lines funnier than they are written. And the five-minute-long (!) Life and Death of a Boring Moment ends with the director’s cry: “Cut!” With a good script and fine performances, director Bossard does not need to do “another take”.