White Spirit Review
By Ashley Maniw (JUly 17th, 2018)
Directed by: Aude Thuries
Written by: Aude Thuries
Produced by: Robin Robles & Arthur Goisset
Key Cast: Romain Francisco, Franc Bruneau, Maximilien Seweryn
In terms of modern cinema, musicals feel like a genre from a bygone era. It's rare to see a modern musical these days. So many of them seem to imitate what the standard Hollywood musicals did without breaking new ground. White Spirit, a short musical film from writer/director Aude Thuries, brings back the vibe of Old Hollywood musicals while telling a charming, unique story that still resonates today.
The film's characters are colours personified to how these hues affect our daily lives: Red encourages arguments and passion, Green wants us to relax and spend time in nature, Pink helps us express our love and affection for each other. White, unfortunately, hates his role. He is the space between conversations - the awkward pauses that we lean on when we don't want to talk about things. It's a lonely job and White is miserable. Feeling his blues, the Blue brothers try to help him find comfort and purpose in his existence.
This rendition can easily become trite, but Thuries' film is imbued with personality and humour. She uses colour blocking to not only tell the story and create the essence of these characters, but to also infuse her film with a sense of fun.
The musical sequences are light and wonderfully shot, reminiscent of old style musicals without feeling redundant. Instead of detracting from the action, these sequences help push the story forward into new avenues without relying on heavy dialogue. The musical scenes complement the story in the same way that colour complements and infuses our daily interactions.
The film also highlights art as the most expressive form of emotion; how art can allow us to transform our feelings and express them in new and different ways. Art allows emotions to be more than one thing, to create an expression that can be two different things at once: sad and profound, moving and joyful. White doesn't have to just be a space for awkwardness and heavy thoughts. White can fill in a space for us when words fail us - a moment that's both sad and tragic but also tender and uplifting.
There rarely seems to be an original musical made these days, which is a shame. Musicals create a magical world where emotions are heightened. It's an older style that, at first glance, doesn't seem to have a place in today's film scene that often prioritizes realism, sarcasm and irony over raw emotion encapsulated through song - something that can feel too sentimental for modern audiences.
Sweet, fun and creative, Thuries' film is a breath of fresh air. In a world where films often rely on realism, it's nice to be taken to a magical world where colours and emotions pepper our days. But Thuries also knows that life isn't full of happiness. Her film shows that there can be light in darkness and that even in the small moments, emotions don't always have to be this or that, black or white.
It's a creative film and a unique take on our every day lives, showing us that even the most mundane day can be filled with poignancy and enchantment. It's a nice, light breather away from the heavier aspects of life because what would life be without a little magic?
- Ashley Maniw