Music, Film & video
« Stuck in a Cruel World » is a 16 minutes short movie project, born from the desire of two directors to transcript a specific musical world. The first one for what it inspired him and the second one for being its creator.
This world is the one of FRAMIX, a project leaded by François Michel, a musician and artist who has released his latest album on the 24th of october 2012 under the same name as this film project.
With a soundtrack anchored in the 1950's and 1960's, FRAMIX declines on this third album 10 songs in Technicolor, with a perfect balance between nostalgia and juvenil enthusiasm.
From Sam Philipps' studios rock'n'roll to Lee 'Scratch" Perry's Black Ark studios reggae, his music and his images are endearing and full of poetry.
David Couliau, director, and François Michel, director too and himself the author of this scenario, ventured to make a variation of this music into a film, between a music video and a short movie.
After a nice car ride in an isolated valley where they can contemplate an abundant nature, and although a storm rises, Candy and Billy, two typical american teenagers of the 1950's, decide to spend an evening at the Drive-In theater, an activity that was quite typical during the 50's for adolescents their age.
Through this film we share a moment of this young couple's life, between the bliss at the beauty of a perfect world to which the era's propaganda tries to make them adhere and the multiple questionings that come to them in front of this pre-fabricated happiness and the promises of a better world.
Candy et Billy, between two scenes:
This film builds the set depicted by FRAMIX's lyrics and music, creating a piece that stands by itself, but that also works intimately with it. Each "side" of the record opens with a piece of dialog taken from the film and the film contains musical excerpts involved in the narrative.
This film project is really big in a sense that it is a pageant and a complete dive in the 1950's, in the USA.
One of the challenges lifted by this film has been to create the best illusion possible of being in Uncle Sam's country. To do so, we chose to shoot a lot of scenes in models. François became this work's craftsman by building four models, two main ones, about 12 square meters each, a valley and a drive-in theater. By going back and forth between a real set and its exact reproduction, we've created a unique world that gives most of the aesthetic originality claimed in this film.
A lot of work has been put in finding the right accessories and in building the set. Thanks to passionate collectors, we managed to envision this production in a more concrete manner. We have been lent classic american cars from the 50's and managed to recreate numerous objects and places. A pretty hard task to do, regarding the fact that we shot all this in France.
Billy's car, a 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Galaxie Skyliner:
The main theme of « Stuck in a Cruel World » is frustration, confinement and questioning the place of our two teenagers in their society at that time.
We are in an idyllic setting but the threat rumbles. We are confined in a car, the camera points outside, through a windshield covered with pouring rain that distorts the outside world.
A poetic tone bathes the whole film, contemplation makes us effloresce the narrative, avoiding to actually fully get into it.
This wandering in space and time, in this cruel world, must be felt as intergenerational.
We are using this time as a reflection of ours. The world that we know today and our contemporary desillusions have no other source than that dreamed society that has been masterminded back in the 50's.
This idyllic vision of the 1950's society is the one of a brilliant present and futur, an illusion, a lie.
Our teenagers feel this discomfort and are our mean to show the behind the scenes.
For most of our comedians, this film was a first time, but all of them have been casted for their ability to look the most like people from the 1950's and to fit into that state of mind.
The main difficulty for scenes with dialogs has also been that dialogs were already recorded, in english, and that our comedians had to act in playback, what's more in a foreign langage.
Candy: played by Pauline Bataille, certainly the most at ease with speaking english.
Billy: With his nonchallant behavior, Anthony Boudard was the perfect choice to play this character.
In the end, almost 10 comedians appear in this film: our 2 main characters, François himself, the snack's employees at the Drive-In, a geek and a bunch of young "greasers", lurking around.
David is in unconditional love with still images and motion pictures. He's been developping a unique sensibility in his creations for almost 20 years now, really imprinted by a strong "street" universe, but also really actual, spontanous and musical, being appealed in the same time by documentary filmmaking, fiction or video creations. This affection for pictures comes from his first and eternal passion for skateboarding. He got known first as a pro-skateboarder and started, meanwhile, to direct his own films. He directed few skateboarding videos like »Supernova » in 2000 or « Pandore » in 2004 that met a certain success. Although he was a true autodidact, he decided to study cinematography in Nantes, in 1999 at Les Arts Filmiques school. There he sharpened his knowledge in editing, in directing and learnt how to shoot with film. Really attached to the "Do It Yourself", an inherent principle of the skateboarding culture of his generation, David found in film a way to soothe his need of getting closer and closer to the material and to textures.
David also developped all along his carreer a close connection between the sound and the image.
He moved to Barcelona in 2006 where he co-directed the first ever skateboarding video of the clothing brand Carhartt. « Spektra » is the result of a long term work and allowed David to reveal himself as a true director, which opened him to a wide variety of film projects.
Back in France, he started working with the music industry and directed music videos and promo videos for bands from Nantes like Smooth, Hocus Pocus, C2C, Hutchinson or more recently Framix. He developped some kind of attraction for realness by directing in 2010 a documentary serie made of 8 episodes about Nantes's nightlife, called "NOC" and the musical documentary « DIY », in 2011, a documentary about independent music labels. Recently, his work as an editor has been exported overseas for an indenpendent documentary project entitled "Doin' It In The Park" and talking about New York's Streetball history, which earned several awards in film festivals in the USA.
Constantly moving, trying to keep this necessary freedom to creation, between the experimentation of reality and fictionous lives, David Couliau's work never stops to refine itself and gets stronger and stronger everyday.
François Michel, alias FRAMIX:
Since his beginnings in 1998, FRAMIX's nonchallant voice walks us on an exotic music stuffed with images.
Yesterday inspired by a jamaican basis, tainted with electronic music, his productions today reveal a new tone that refer refreshingly to the 50's and 60's.
Constantly searching, this multi-instrumentalist, writes music solo, liking to flirt with styles, jumping from one era to the other, always looking for inventivness. He builds himself a universe populated with allegories, underlined by lyrics revealing a sometimes poetic tone. Issued from the Fine Arts school of Angers, France, this artist from Nantes stays really attached to images. He emphasizes his musical universe through a constantly renewed film work. His music videos and this new short movie project contribute to draw in a really personal manner this world he's building.
His music video/ short movie project for his 2009 track "The Mistake" , taken from his second album, "Happy Animals", had already led him to win awards in short movies festivals in France.
Followed by Radio Nova and France Inter in 2010 and 2011, his federating artistic project is aired in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Since 2011, and this year too, FRAMIX has been continuing to unveil his work through a serie of EPs and music videos. «The Big Falls», released in march 2011, has been aired on Radio Nova and synchronised on feature films. «I can’t Refuse it», with its blue beat and yéyé's accents has been the first title sang in french by the artist. It has been aired on France Inter the all summer of 2011.
Today, with this new film project, FRAMIX proves again the scope of his talent and is willing to continue expanding his universe until it reaches a stage version, always keeping this film base really present.
David Couliau and François Michel jumped into this project with fervor and a hint of recklessness in front of the technical and human challenge it represented.
In fact, this project has been launched without any budget or any other outside help and only depended on the willingness and kindness of all the people involved and all the friends of David and François.
Then, a team of approximately 30 people was created for this 5 days and nights shooting for the "real" set, a team made of comedians and technicians, all volunteers but passionate about the project.
The shootings of the models have been made with a reduced team, a maximum of 2 to 3 people.
The generosity of all the volunteers has to be highlighted here, for their work, as much as for all the people who contributed to the film by landing us and giving us accessories for the sets, vehicles, lights, electric devices, costumes, for the image, the catering, etc...
This film, already shot and edited, is still in the POST-PRODUCTION process and needs numerous Special Effects and other steps of finishing like color grading and sound mixing.
In order that our back and forth game between real scenes and scenes shot in models visually work, we've set up a complete Keylight disposal to integrate pieces of models in real scenes and play with this ambiguity between both worlds. This step was extremely laborious and hasn't been as efficient as it should have been during our shooting, due to the lack of means available back then. This post-production step is still to this day what represents the most of the job we have to finish and refine on this project.
Shot wihout Special Effects:
Shot with Special Effects (to be cleaned):
This step needs really qualified people to be totally succeeded, so we need a budget.
Other levels of special effects also need to be done:
-A big part of this story is happening under a heavy rain, so we have to create this rain for most of our shots. We could create some naturally directly in some of the real scenes we've shot, but for the scenes shot in models, we have to integrate them everywhere.
Shot with FX rain test:
What's more, half of the film is also happening at night. For the shots where Billy is driving into the model, we've had to create the car's lights to stay "realistic" and keep the continuity with real scenes:
Shot with car's lights in a model at night:
Once all these special effects will be done, we'll have to bring a special touch to really finish the film. This step will help us to magnify the whole film and let all the work done until now appear. That is: Color Correction.
This step is fastidious and really expensive and it needs a highly qualified person with a sense of sensibility that fits the project. We have found that person, she has experience in feature films, advertising, music videos and is well known. But she will not work for free as the rest of the team did it so far.
Finally, we also need a budget to finance the promotion campaign of the film, to give it a life and show it in festivals.
The promotion of this fim and it's broadcasting appear to be an important part of the project, to simply make it live. This finished film will be subtitled in french and shown the most possible. We don't want to keep it available only on the internet.
This step needs people with good networks (Press release agents, distributors, etc...) and shipments and registrations to festivals also represent a huge budget.
Until today, the expenses on this project have been limited, but are real:
-The FRAKAMIX Association, FRAMIX's own production structure, has spent approximately 4500€ for construction materials for the models and expenses linked to the real set (construction materials, catering, gas, rental light equipment, etc...)
-The Pays de la Loire region's cinema and audiovisual division helped us with a 5000€ grant that we mostly used to pay the production designer and the all first Special Effects session done with 3 people during 1 month.
We still need to lift funds for:
-All the finishing of Special Effects (1 more month of work for 2 people minimum): 2000€
-Color grading: 1000€
-Sound mix: 500€
-Masters ( HD + DCP + DVD pressing): 1000€
-Shipping to festivals: 500€
So we're counting on you, Kissbankers and independent films afficionados, 50's fans if there are still any, to help us finish this project in better conditions and make viewable to all.