Vésuves

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Vésuves (translated: Realisation) is a short animation by director Kevin Manach. The film has a simple premise, described in the synopsis as; two men look at a woman. One wants her, the other one gets her. The first man is a window cleaner who happens to be cleaning the window of a woman that he finds attractive. The woman seeing the cleaner stare does nothing to discourage him. Soon after, the second man enters the apartment, puts the phone on the side, approaches the woman and kisses her on the head.

Vésuves has a strange, if not deranged feel about it, horrifying yet elegant. Without the use of dialogue or music, the film has a cold authorless atmosphere. All we are allowed to do is watch the events unfold without the opinion of the filmmaker to guide us, and the woman who is the object of both men’s desire is apathetic to say the least. The design of the character is interesting, as selected features are made prominent; we see her skin, her eyes, lips and hair (that covers the majority of her face). In contrast, we only see the voyeuristic window cleaners’ eyes, as everything else is covered with clothing. The eyes are used to emote as well as to stare.

The colour scheme draws the viewers’ attention to the object(s) the animator desires, subversively controlling our focus and feelings towards certain things. The window cleaner is made to stand out like a sore thumb, as his orange shading clashes with his surroundings. By contrast, the woman melds with her surroundings, as she is shaded the same colours as the room, their differing reactions are visibly obvious; the cleaner feels out of place and the woman, completely un-phased by his awkward gaze.

The second man too is shaded orange, automatically linking him to the first man, and he too wishes to have the woman. His actions in putting down his bag and unhooking the phone indicate that he lives in the apartment, and we assume that he is the boyfriend or husband to the woman, yet he seems far more sinister that the window cleaner who is in essence, just a peeping-tom.

Vésuves leaves a lasting impression; its strong visuals and menacing tone create a dark almost comedic sensibility. Though I suspect Manach has a clear intention with the film, he leaves it to the viewer to draw any conclusions.

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