Shoegazing (2021)

Courtesy of NIFFF

There are two ways to explain the setting and the action (or the general lack of it) in Servane d’Alverny’s short film Shoegazing (hence the title for the “lack of action” part), and, depending what road one might take, it might colour the viewing experience completely. So let us start with what we know for sure: Gabrielle and her four girlfriends are travelling in a van down the largely deserted roads. Gabrielle is generally the odd one out, a bit hyperactive and attention-seeking, with a compulsive need to fill her mouth with food and water all the time, while the friends create some kind of group dynamic more easily. They turn to a back road and run out of gas. Gabrielle goes to get it, with some dire implications.

This is the part where the interpretation steps in, because of d’Alverny’s deft use of ellipses in storytelling. The deserted roads and the overheard radio news signal some kind of apocalypse in the background, which implies that Gabrielle’s act too precious to be spoiled is an act of a natural born survivor. The other point of view would be centred on Gabrielle’s personality and the impressions that everything around her and the girls still looks functional and that they are basically doing a common thing like going to vacation at the seaside. That implies that the aforementioned Gabrielle’s act is something atrocious.

Actually, Servane d’Alverny is more interested in creating the specific mood rather than telling a story. It is evident from the way she treats the act, showing it in brief flashes thanks to the spot-on editing of Morgane Maurel. The mood is also set by the means of 16mm cinematography in hand-held fashion and in Panavision format melting in the warm summer colours and the ethereal synth music composed by Nick Shadel and Zlew. Shoegazing, currently playing at the International Shorts Competition of NIFFF, is a very elegant short film that leaves the lasting impression.

Countries: UK, France
Language: French
Year: 2020
Runtime: 12’ 47’’
Directed by: Servane d’Alverny
Written by: Servane d’Alverny
Cast: Aurore Streich, Ariane Padovani, Pauline Petracin, Shanon Schmeltz-Chazelon, Joana Vinogradoff, Guillaume Monfraix
Cinematography by: Tamás A. Méder
Editing by: Morgane Maurel
Music by: Nick Shadel, Zlew
Sound by: Clément Lemariey
Production design by: Molly Shears
Make-up by: Dina Ait Fatel, Donia Ben Ammar
Visual effects by: Gabriel Gâches, Pierre-Emmanuel Mazy
Assistant director: Thomas Morelli
Produced by: Julien Cornwall, Servane d’Alverny
Production company: London Film School
Supported by: BFI, Screen Skills