Alfred, Frank, Ute Gassner; Michaela Haider; Lukas Jaeger; Sabine Kirschenhofer; Michelle Laker; Heike, Konstantin, Norbert Metz; Irene Prieler; Christian Srienz; Andreas Stasta and Arnold Onderka
support and additional animation: Hanna Hollmann
voice: Jay Tuck
a film by Frank Gassner
During a war, ten people attempt to flee from an occupied city in a stagecoach. Even though the occupiers didn’t commit the dreaded acts of cruelty, these people still want to resume their everyday lives and try their luck elsewhere.
This group of refugees represents a cross-section of society. From ordinary citizens to the nobility to two nuns, all social strata are represented. Even the advocates of democratic reform are represented by Cornudet. The final member of the group is the prostitute „Boule de suif“.
The action shows how the relationship between Boule de suif and the prominent citizens of the traveling party develops.
At first the travelers clearly show their disdain for Boule de suif. But soon after the coach is underway, things change: because no one in the group had packed any food, they are all very glad when Boule de suif shares her provisions with them, and the relationship improves noticeably. In an inn where they stop for the night, the travelers encounter an officer of the occupying forces, who will not let them continue on their way until he has availed himself of Boule de suif‘s services. But this goes against her sense of patriotism and she refuses him.
From this point on the attitude of the other travelers toward Boule de suif takes a turn for the worse. Rather than admiring the prostitute for her steadfastedness, her fellow travelers are upset that her resistance has kept them from continuing on their way.
Through subtle hints about how self-sacrifice is the duty of women mixed with examples from history and religion, they finally get Boule de suif to give in to the officer’s wishes, after which they are allowed to continue on their way. But rather than being grateful to her, the next day Boule de suif is scorned and ridiculed, and she is once again treated as a prostitute with whom decent folks have nothing to do with.
In the final scene, Boule de suif is sitting with the others in the coach, crying. This time she has forgotten to pack provisions, but none of the others will share with her.
The story is based on Guy de Maupassant‘s novella of the same name. The soundtrack is largely the same text. The film is a mixture of live action and animation filmed in various techniques. In many scenes images coalesce into tableaus. Each subject is given apparent levels of meaning, which in turn stand beside and on top of one another on equal footing. The meaninglessness of that which seems so certain such as gender or age is exposed with great relish. The individual threads run parallel, only touching occasionally but nevertheless influencing the overall image. Boule de suif is ultimately sold down the river. The visual language in its complexity is reminiscent of commercial television, particularly of infomercials with their continuous fade-ins and overblendings. The shifts in meaning inevitably evoke contradictions that at times seem bizarre. Everything combines to form a fantastic panorama of shapes and colors that goes far beyond any narrative and in large parts venerates the pure form.
Making of „Boule de suif“
Trailer „Boule de suif“
Trailer „Boule de suif“
>here< you can download a zip-file with texts and screenshots
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