Gulf Film Festival shines the spotlight on French contemporary director Francois Vogel’s shorts

Published March 31st, 2010 - 10:06 GMT

 Gulf Film Festival, the annual event celebrating Gulf cinema held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, this year shines the spotlight on contemporary French filmmaker Francois Vogel with an eclectic selection of his 16 short films.

Globally renowned for his arresting visuals that blend the best of traditional filmmaking with New Age digital media, Vogel is as much an illustrious digital photographer as a filmmaker who experiments with cubist squares, three dimensional approaches and free-moving elements.

GFF Festival Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the selection of Vogel’s shorts for the In Focus segment of the festival is reflective of the evolution in film-making techniques today. “With technology breaking down all barriers in film-making, young filmmakers show a growing interest in digital filmmaking techniques.”

“Vogel is known for his creative liberties in manipulating the space between the subject and the camera, even as he explores serious subject matter such as the absurdity of wars. His movies will serve as a referral point in new age film-making, and inspire regional filmmakers to look beyond the accepted frontiers,” he added.

Vogel began his career in visual arts with video artist Dominik Barbier’s gallery installations and gained international acclaim with his ‘You’ campaign for HP. He conceputalised the ‘Picture Book’ campaign that won AdWeek’s Campaign of the Year. 

Twisting images and concepts like clay, he moulds a new language in cinema, which will find resonance in tech-savvy filmmakers of this generation.

A modern film-maverick of sorts, Vogel’s repertoire to be screened at the third edition of GFF to be held from April 8 to 14 include: After the Rain; Cuisine; Rebus; Les Crabes; Tournis; Trois petits chats; Readymade, Live @ the End; Rue Francis; Faux plafond; Cueillette; La Poule Gerard; Le Bruit de la vrillette; Riante contree; La Sieste sous les cocotiers; Un cirque vraiment extraordinaire; and Stretching.


Stretching is a peculiar display of urban gymnastics where an eccentric character concocts crazy, rhythmic exercises along the streets of Manhattan. In Readymade, Live @ the End, set in a strange stairway, the architecture shakes with the beats of music. Four characters and a dog are prisoners of their own movements.

From the kitchen to the garden, from the garden to the kitchen, Rebus follows three protagonists into the meanders of a distorted space looking for words hidden in the picture. Cuisine explores the relationship between a banana and one’s field of vision, while Tournis (Dizzy) is a performance for four actors, eight cameras and four mobiles which blend and merge with the background to create a distorted and strange puzzle.

Be it a light drizzle or a storm, After the Rain, makes one wonder if we learn anything while we try to protect ourselves in our houses. Unable to sleep on a full moon night, a couple find themselves on a bizarre trip to the moon. They are confronted by a number of painful domestic incidents, in the questionable tale of reality versus virtual, Faux Plafond, while two protagonists flirt above the trees in an incomprehensible scenario in Cueillette.

Vogel’s Riante Contree disseminates genuine happiness for his country, highlighting beauty stemmed from innocence. Trois petits chats is an exercise in style where words and pictures are playing together, distorting, mixing, and finally bring us to the limits of language and perception of reality. In Les Crabes (The Crabs), two tribes are fighting each other on the Brittany beaches. The characters are walking sideways in two dimensions and stay alive thanks to their shells that look like video screens. It is a bizarre movie about the absurdity of war.

From the Fifth floor balcony of the 11th of the Francis de Pressense street, Rue Francis throws at viewers the rhythmic life of a Paris neighbourhood. La Poule Gerard (The Gerard Chicken) narrates the story of a man’s strange love life in a cooking recipe background.

The images and story are created by the kids in a school in Hienghene New Caledonia for the short La Sieste sous les cocotiers (A Nap Under the Coconut Trees), while in Le Bruit de la vrillette (The Sound of Woodworm), two guys in a twirling universe are attracted by a woman in white.

The third edition of the Gulf Film Festival will be held from April 8 to April 14. The festival is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and is held in association with Dubai Studio City. More details on the festival are available online at

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