In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

Thumb fast color poster

Fast Color

Hart undercuts the expected "superhero" element of the story, up until and including the final sequence. She's more interested in issues of power and creativity,…

Thumb someone poster

Someone Great

A fluffy romp with a sobering truth: relationships and your twenties may end, but neither signals the end of the world

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Primary cut sfif 2018

Short Films in Focus: The Cut (La coupe)

The single-take shot has become a kind of game of one-upmanship over the past decade. Filmmakers such as Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro G. Inñárritu have used the device in a way that has elevated the art form of filmmaking itself. More and more filmmakers are making similarly impressive attempts and for good reason. Think of how much more gets added to a scene with only minimal cuts, how much more involved we become as viewers. Our lives don’t get to be edited down in any way, so when a scene holds on an emotion or an event for a sustained period of time without editing, it draws us in even more, whether we notice the technique or not (if I ever do notice it, I start running the clock after a minute, just to see how long the camera holds before any noticeable cuts. I can’t help it and I know I’m not alone in that). 


I’m a sucker for it, in any case. I appreciate the attempt even if it involves special effects to hide the edit or if the movie doesn’t work, regardless. For some reason, a short film like “The Cut (La coupe)” impresses me more than an extended single-tale action sequence. Perhaps I’m biased because I have worked with kids on film shoots and have attempted single-take shots with them. It’s tough. You never know what kind of performance you’re going to get from one take to the next. The kid who plays Fannie in “The Cut (La coupe),” Milya Corbell-Gauvreau, seems as though she is doing the first take. It’s not. It’s take 23 of a twelve-minute shot where the emotions go from genuine childhood giddiness to the sadness of growing up and losing interest in your parental figures. (It took two days to finally get the shot right). 

That is a lot to cram into a deceptively simple short film, but director Geneviève Dulude-De Celles and her cast have us believing every minute, as the charming and precocious Fannie excitedly gives her father (Alain Houle) a haircut that only a child could give and getting very excited about making popcorn and watching a movie with him later that evening. Then a phone call comes and suddenly, Fannie has other interests and knows she has to let her father down easily by requesting to go off with her friends at a party instead. The silences between the dialogue make the moment devastating and the viewer is left wondering if they should leave the room so these two could be alone. Again, thanks to the strong performances and that single take. 

“The Cut (La coupe)” is a beautiful piece of work. I programmed it five years ago for the Chicago Critics Film Festival and it was easily one of my favorites of that year. It’s the perfect kind of short film, one where you notice the characters first and the technique second. As it should be. 

La Coupe (The Cut) from Colonelle films on Vimeo.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Star Wars, Episode IX Announces Title, Releases Trailer

A report from the Star Wars Celebration on the announcement of the title of Episode IX and reveal of the trailer.

Bright Wall/Dark Room April 2019: Religious Cinema for Non-Believers: Scorsese's Silence

An essay about Martin Scorsese's Silence, as excerpted from the latest edition of Bright Wall/Dark Room.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus