20 October 2014 | guy-bellinger
I'm singin' and dancin' in... his apartment.
Anna, a girl in her late teens who has missed the last train to Clermont-Ferrand and lost her baggage, finds herself alone in an empty Paris station. Appears a middle-aged man walking his dog. The guy takes her to his apartment and once there tries to take advantage of the lost creature and have sex with her...
Summarized this way, 'Acide Animé ' can make you fear the worst. And it is true that at first sight such a plot looks just like a pretext for showing sick graphic sex scenes. Fortunately that is not the case. Sure Félix, the male character, is tempted to sexually abuse the helpless girl (isn't he seen swallowing a mysterious pill - a sexual stimulant, to be sure - and pouring another substance in Anna's drink?), but those objectionable urges stay at the level of intentions. For what matters to Guillaume Bréaud, the gifted director of this short, is not to give horny spectators an opportunity to get an eyeful, it is to draw the sensitive portrait of two confused people put side by side by a quirk of fate.
Mission accomplished: Bréaud does succeed in making his two characters (and let's not forget Jacques, Felix's dog!) engaging. Not without defects but engaging. On the one hand you have Anna, a charming young thing, fresh and spontaneous (but maybe not the pretty well-bred provincial we first think she is). On the other, Félix, a somewhat selfish sexually frustrated bachelor (but, as we find out, having kept the spirit of childhood). What separates them is that young and pretty Anna might become a sexual prey for Félix but there is something much more important that genuinely unites them, childhood, at least the part of it which is not gone in her yet and is still present in him despite being twice as old as her. A bond stronger than Felix's attempted assault, which is illustrated by the final scene : still in a state of shock because of what has almost happened to her, Anna nevertheless bursts out laughing. She had a narrow escape, needless to say, but the experience she shared with this eccentric fellow just before was definitely worth living.
And indeed, before things turned sour, the two "misfits" (Anna, whose early love life caused turmoil in her family; Félix, who failed to find a genial soul to share his life), managed to talk (Anna's merry confession, in particular, filmed, played and edited remarkably), to discover each other and - the most original side of ' Acide Animé ' - to have fun together like the two little children they have remained deep inside themselves. Guillaume Bréaud brilliantly translates the ebullience that carries away the two partners when they find out they both know the joyous song " We're Off to See the Wizard " from " The Wizard of Oz " and that they can sing and dance to it! During this marvelous sequence, the director captures to perfection the glee that sublimates the best Hollywood musicals while managing to give us the feeling that these two beings who should never have met have become as one. Of course this impression is only transient and this miraculous unity is soon permeated by Félix's lust, beginning by a rather disgusting game of forfeits. But, oddly (and unconventionally) enough, the miracle, tarnished has it has been, remains a miracle.
Naturally the film would be nothing without the right actors. But in this field too Guillaume Bréaud rises to the challenge: Didier Bénureau and Ludivine Sagnier are just the ideal pick. Bénureau, too rarely seen on the screen, gives a top-rate performance here, underlining with equal talent the dark and bright sides of his character. As for Ludivine Sagnier, still in her teens at the time of filming, she is already an accomplished actress whose talents range from performing her own stunts (running after a train moving off) to speaking alone facing the camera during a whole sequence to singing and dancing in English.
Finely crafted by Guillaume Bréaud, ' Acide Animé ' is a worthwhile short which gave hope that its young director would pursue the same brilliant career as its leading actress. But the movie world is cruel and for all his undeniable talent he has only been able to write three screenplays ever since. He is nevertheless still active and, as miracles do happen, it is not to be ruled out that some bold producer might decide to trust him again. For his - and our - sake.