"Vent" - a piece of pure animation By Luk Menten
in 28th Annecy International Animated Film Festival
by Luk Menten
The winner of the FIPRESCI Prize, awarded June 11th in Annecy, Vent (Wind) by Erik van Schaaik, is a strong visual and musical performance, rather than a rational story. The 4′ 50” long work in which a figure fights against the wind, “.touches the essence of animation,” concluded our Jury.
The setting of Vent is simple. Within a rectangle, divided, somewhere near the middle by a black vertical bar or pillar, heavy clouds pass through. A person, shown as a black silhouette, fights his way against a stormy wind. In his movement from the right to the left, the man succeeds in reaching the pillar. He goes even farther, but is then blown away out of the screen. He enters back, on the other side…. a second person, a tiny young girl, appears, but she is not hampered at all by the wind. The girl goes to the left side of the space and shuts a door. The wind stops. After a while the frame at which we look upon is opened in a new way, like a window.
One shouldn’t see Vent as a logically constructed story, but rather as a playfully interpretation on the theme of a man fighting against the wind. “I invented this within an hour’s time. It’s not a real story, but just visuals. It’s more the feeling that counts, and also the fine music. Everybody can invent for himself a fitting story,” explains Van Schaaik (born in1968). From the beginning he wanted to make a ‘music film’ without dialogue, leaving the composing of the music to his friend Martin Fondse. That’s what happened. While Fondse himself took the piano part, well-known Dutch jazz-artists Ernst Reijseger and Eric Vloeimans played cello and trumpet.
Erik van Schaaik worked four months on this film. The clouds that form the background, he painted as aquarelles. The figures were made in 2D computer animation. Vent is Erik van Schaaik’s first film. Until now he has mainly been involved in producing and directing childrens programs for Dutch television. Now he has plans for new ‘exercises’ in the field of animation, using different techniques like puppets and 3D, and again with music to be written by Martin Fondse.
Earlier this year Vent (a French word which means ‘wind’, but at the same time is the Dutch word for ‘chap’ or ‘little fellow’) received an honourable mention of the Childrens Jury at the Berlin Film Festival.