Review: The Hunt (2019)

still from the film

The lines between the “reality” and the “fantasy” are even more blurred in animation than they are in live action films. The capital thing Natacha Baud-Grasset succeeds to do in her short animated film The Hunt is distinguishing the two. The film premiered at the last year’s edition of the Festival of the European Fantastic Film in Strasbourg and it also competed at this year’s edition of Slash Film Festival in Vienna.

In nature, however, the distinctions are always clear. Some species are predatory (for instance, the wolves), while others do their best not to become their prey, which is the case with deer. The Hunt opens with a large stag exiting the forest and checking if the air is clear. He is the pack leader and he signals the rest of the herd that it is safe for them to join him. However, there is a pack of wolves hidden on the top of the nearby rock, the herd disperses and the leader is left alone to run for his life…

As he re-enters the woods, the “reality” changes. The lights become red, he becomes brighter and the gray wolves turn to completely black. His newly-gained superpowers (which is a clear metaphor for the adrenaline rush) can grant him the first “victory” in the battle, but the spirits of the dead wolves have a final saying before everything turns back to “normal” for the ending credits sequence whose significance should not be simply written off.

Working with her team of animators, Baud-Grasset opts for simple, yet highly effective approach. The animation is a completely digital combination of 2D and 3D and it runs smoothly in quite a high pace. The lack of dialogue is substituted by sound design and the music in the style of the 90s pulsating electronica, while the editing handled by Zoltan Horvath is spot on. The Hunt is a clear-eyed insight about the brutality of the nature and a very tense, emotional watch.

courtesy of Nadasady Film

Original title: La traque
Year: 2019
Runtime: 5’ 16’’
Country: Switzerland
Language: No dialogue
Directed by: Natacha Baud-Grasset
Written by: Natacha Baud-Grasset
Animated by: Natacha Baud-Grasset, Shinta Juilland, Arnaud Lefebvre, Zoé Wahle, Valérie Juillard, Oana Lacroix, Nicolas Moreau
Editing by: Zoltan Horvath
Sound by: Jérôme Vittoz
Music by: Dario Galizia
3D modeling by: Morgane Bogdanoff
Sound effects by: Marie Maziere
Produced by: Nicolas Burlet, Zoltan Horvath
Co-produced by: Izabela Rieben
Production company: Nadasady Film
Co-production company: Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS)
Supported by: Cinéforom, Loterie Romande, Office federal de la culture (OFC)