La Fille aux Feuilles or The Girl with Leaves by Marina Rosset is
beautiful. Among the many commendable short films that grace the festival circuit every year, there are some pretty recognizable archetypes. There are the films about overcoming a fear, whether it be social or
situational. There are films about an outsider who is brought inside by the kindness of a stranger. There are films that meditate on the absurdity of existence with outlandish metaphoric presentations of familiar experiences. The repetition of tropes like these highlight the challenge of creating a short animated film that is simultaneously entertaining, thought provoking, and original. Marina Rosset has managed all three with her most recent film.
The Girl with Leaves is about many things, and I don’t claim to know much about any of them. It’s about sex. It’s about gender. It’s about growth and relationships, yet it’s only six minutes long. Writing a review of short form media prompts questions about what critical theory can bring to the table if you are not allowed to discuss the specifics of the work. I don’t have many answers to those questions. I don’t want to give anything away. So I would advise you to find a way to see this film if possible.
I recently had the opportunity to watch one of Brenda Chapman’s student
films: A Birthday. There is little I need to do, (probably especially
among this crowd) to convince you that the largest issue that animation
studios face today is the issue of gender (representation and in the
workplace). I am a 21 year old white male, so I don’t have too much ground to speak on (or maybe I have too much ground), but these two films by Brenda Chapman and Marina Rosset have a lot in common. To me, they bring something notably female to the table. I feel enlightened, broadened, ashamed and warm after watching these two pieces. Chapman’s work seems to discuss the loneliness of being an aging female in a world that values aging females less than any other group. Rosset’s work seems to discuss the loneliness of youth, the loneliness of never being able to truly understand that a different energy potentially drives the female and the male experiences. I cannot imagine experiencing the broadening that this films bring in any other format. As we like to celebrate, animation is the true auteur medium and the short is the true auteur format. Marina Rosset’s The Girl With Leaves pulses with something foreign to me, and I am grateful for having experienced it.
Willie Hartman is a senior BA candidate at USC SCA Division of Animation and Digital Arts graduating in May 2014. He grew up in Reno, NV, and is currently hard at work trying to complete his senior film. He wants you to have a good day.