Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s why every week we’ll take a look at some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Samuel Grandchamp’s allegorical drama Le barrage.
The Plot: A father and son road trip gets complicated when repressed emotions begin to boil over.
Some filmmakers believe that honesty is less interesting than fiction. Samuel Grandchamp would likely argue that ‘interesting’ is in the eye of the beholder. And Le barrage would serve as his evidence.
As far as plotting goes, Le barrage is a study in simplicity. A father takes his on a road trip to see Europe’s biggest dam and not much else happens. But what the film lacks in actual plotting it makes up for in its simmering subtext. What starts as a fun weekend getaway quickly intensifies into a complex emotional gauntlet for both father and son.
That gauntlet is built around a sloppy divorce and the tangled web of resentment that’s grown from it. The tension between the fractured family is present almost immediately. But Grandchamp bottles up the tension just long enough that it’s a shock when emotions boil over. That moment comes in the form of an innocent remark and instant overreaction. And once the tension is loosed, there’s no bottling it back up.
Unbridled emotion leads to a series of escalating conflicts, and where Grandchamp takes them is painful to watch. He presents every stolid silence and emotional outburst with the subjective eye of a documentarian. He bolsters that style with Frederico Cesca’s piercing, naturalistic cinematography, and he cement the film’s verité feel behind a pair of weighty performances from his actors.
The result is a stunning work of fiction. But Le barrage is a fiction that resonates with candor and insight. It’s a powerful statement to the power of sincere storytelling. It’s a testament to the idea that honesty is often more interesting than fiction. And it deserves to be seen by as large an audience as possible. That includes you. So press play and watch it already.
Meet The Crew:
Written & Directed by: Samuel Grandchamp Starring: Alessio Ballosi, Pascal Gravat Cinematography by: Frederico Cesca Edited by: Justin Chan & Samuel Grandchamp
I hope you enjoy Le barrage! Grandchamp’s film spent the last two years racking up well-deserved accolades on the festival circuit for both director and crew. The film serves as proof positive that all are ready to take their talents to a feature project. That project is rumored to be a feature length adaptation of the story set up in Le barrage. While you’re holding your breath for that film, you can check out more of Grandchamp’s work over at his Vimeo page. While you’re kicking about, check out a few of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – the Vimeo team have made available for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device – SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting. And you may just stumble across the next great filmmaker.