An animated film directed by Michał Socha from 2008. Its subversive plot is supported by original art and wonderful scenography.
An animated film from 2008 directed by Michał Socha.Chick, dir. Michał Socha, photo: www.thechickfilm.com
The topic of male-female relations is often taken up by animators, however, it is not often that we see a film that shows the disastrous charms of the femme fatale in such an insightful, original and funny way. The charm and festival potential of Michał Socha’s animation, made as a graduation film at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, under the supervision of Hieronim Neumann, was quickly noticed by Warsaw-based Platige Image Studio, which took on the role of Chick’s co-producer and promoter. Thanks to its technical refinement and good promotion, the film has been featured at the most important animation festivals around the world and has won several awards, including those in Annecy and Ottawa.
However, the film would not have been a success if the creator had not managed to combine a very coherent, consistent script, ending with a clear and funny punchline, with original art and lively music. A surrealistically humorous narrative about a typical date with an unusual ending brings images known from cinema classics, presented in a refreshed form. A woman’s preparations – shower, choice of outfit, makeup – are shown with a grain of salt and emphasise the ambiguity of the concept of beauty. The scene of the meeting itself, with drinks, a fiery dance, a spectacular landing in the bed and an indispensable cigarette after the act, is the director’s ironic play on cinematic clichés. A strong punchline is delivered in the finale when it turns out how destructive the power of a woman’s infatuation can be. The director also had fun with the ambiguity of the title. In Polish, ‘Laska’ – the original title – means both ‘chick’ (a colloquialism) and ‘cane’. By contrasting the colloquial use of the word to describe a beautiful woman with a white cane for the blind, he made the final punchline even stronger.
Its subversive plot is supported by original art and wonderful scenography. Using only three colours (white, black and red), giving the objects a strongly geometrised form and moving smoothly from figurativeness to abstraction, the director freed himself from the literality of imaging. Ideas for the characters’ movement – such as the male’s unusual entry into the room, when he materialises from his shadow, or his jump into bed made from the rising indicators of an equaliser – and smooth 2D animation are synchronised with the rhythm of expressive jazz music composed by the Meritum Quartet, which imbues the film with Klezmer musical energy.
Thanks to the universality of the applied film language and artistic freshness, Chick has become one of the most recognisable Polish animations in the world, and the author has received artistic recognition and numerous invitations to cooperate. They resulted in the animated headline of the Animator 2009 Festival, the opening sequence of The Pillars of The Earth (2010) and numerous commercials made in BrosFX studio.
- Chick, Poland 2008. Writer and director: Michał Socha; producers: Michał Socha, Platige Image; executive producer: Marcin Kobylecki; production assistant: Marta Staniszewska; animation: Michał Socha; artistic supervisor: Hieronim Neumann; music: Meritum - SZCZ; promotion, distribution: Platige Image. Runtime: 5 minutes.
- Bronze Pegasus - Animator International Film Festival, Poznań 2008;
- Golden Goats - International Young Audience Film Festival ALE KINO, Poznań 2008;
- Winner in the category ‘Animation’ - Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles 2009;
- Honorary mention - ARS Electronica 2009;
- Silver Lajkonik for the best animated film - Kraków Film Festival 2009;
- Honorary mention for creative use of music - Film Festival, Annecy 2009;
- Gold in the ‘Film’ category - Art Directors Club of Europe (ADC*E), Barcelona 2009;
- ‘Little Jantar’ for the best animated film - Koszalin Debut Film Festival Youth and Film 2009;
- Special mention in the animation category - Tabor Film Festival in Croatia 2009;
- Main award in the ‘best student animation’ category - Ottawa International Animation Festival 2009;
- Jury’s Honorary Mention - China International Animation and Digital Arts Festival CICDAF 2009;
- Best Design - KROK Festival 2009;
- Best Animation and Student Jury Award - BuSho Short Film Festival, Budapest 2009;
- Silver Peg Bar for best animation - ANIMANIMA 2009.
Originally written in Polish by Mariusz Frukacz, March 2011