FUNERAILLES ( FUNERAL) 2019
The beauty of Funeral lies in the way in which its multi-layered script draws to a single collective realisation. Over the course of their conversation, the characters bring up elements of regret, anger, frustration, blame, love, nostalgia, sibling rivalry and pretty much everything else, while the twist at the end left me with goose bumps.
Vandelannoote’s script is at once harrowing and heart-warming, exploring themes of suicide, depression and how society – specifically family – deals with them. The subjects that unfold here, while distinctly personal, will speak to a number of broader social factors that surround suicide. The dialectic contradictions at the heart of the film symbolise the process of catharsis we each undergo in the wake of personal tragedy.
My chief take-away from the film is that we should fight to never give up on one another, to help our loved ones until the very end, because the alternative could well be irreversible.
Filmmaker Marie Vandelannoote certainly deserves applause for keeping the viewer fooled through the film, although this is just the icing on a beautifully crafted cake. A single scene conveys a hard-hitting message, helped along by gripping acting. Changes in the background score take the viewer on a journey, while the overall narrative rises and falls with almost perfect timing.
AFTAB BOSE, INDY FILM LIBRARY
Beyond the thematic mainstay by which the director explores the anatomy of fraternal relationships, this short film enjoys an interesting cinematic concreteness that makes long shots, along with camera movements, suggest the very perspective of the dead brother’s spirit who quietly attends the meeting of others. The strategy chosen by Marie Vandelannoote who somewhat overlaps our perspective, the one of the viewers, with the “transhuman” perspective of the deceased character, enhances the surprise effect in the end, provoking us with its extreme emotional reaction while pushing us to believe that the imperceptible reality around us is far more complex than we want to believe. It is difficult to classify this short film using words such as “optimistic” or “pessimistic”, “tragic” or “comic”, “moral” or “immoral”. In fact, as aforementioned, the most appropriate term to capture the essence of this project is “human”. Thus, ‘Funeral’ is one of the most humane and authentic projects about our nature and about our emotional reactivity, that we had the opportunity to award in our festival.
ANDREI SERBAN, TMFF
"Writer/director Marie Vandelannoote has crafted a thoughtful, engaging film with Funeral, a 15-minute short film that serves partly as meditation and partly as a psychological journey in exploring the grief and unresolved guilt facing four siblings as they gather for the funeral of their youngest sibling who has died by suicide.
Funeral accomplishes quite a bit within its running time, Vandelannoote managing to bring to life years of a family's complexities and unresolved issues and the ways in which each sibling, in their own way, had given up on their brother who, in turn, had ultimately given up. There's a grief that Funeral wears with all of this that is intense, chaotic and yet strangely familiar within its familial structure.
You could almost say there's a dirge-like quality at work within Funeral, a melancholy rhythm of life that is structured beautifully and brought vividly to life via Vandelannoote's words, a tremendous ensemble cast, and Manuel Laurent's exceptional cinematography.
Thoughtful and intimate, challenging and insightful, Funeral is the kind of film that leads to post-viewing conversations and extended periods of personal reflection. It may even cause you to call your loved ones. "
RICHARD PROPES, THE INDEPENDENT CRITIC
"Director Marie Vandelannoote has managed to create something really interesting with just one room, four actors and a casket.
Funeral is a superbly performed piece by its actors, Anne-Helene Orvelin,
Anne-Laure Gruet, Stefen Eynius, and Damien Boisseau. [...]
Marie Vandelannoote directs with skill and, even though the film is set mostly at a small table in front of a casket, she keeps the audience interested with en pointe dialogue and a roaming camera, that flitters between the characters as they deliver their lines.
I truly enjoyed Funeral. It is a true testament of independent film making and it really does go to show that you do not need a lot of money to make a good short film, you just need hard work and skill, and Funeral has it all in abundance."
CARL BRUGESS, SCREEN CRITIX
"Told with a minimalist design and simple filmmaking approach, short film Funeral leans heavily on its cast and dramatic themes rather than any overly stylish camera work or special effects[...]
The atmosphere is palpably anxious, with a familial tension layering most sequences and characters migrating from joy to anguish in a heartbeat. [...]
Dramatically performed and bearing all manner of life's enduring quandaries, Funeral is a profound examination of the fallout from someone's passing. The repercussions and personal reverberations are compellingly explored by a talented cast and skillful director."
CHRIS OLSON, UK FILM REVIEW
"Very cleverly crafted, Marie Vandelannoote’s Funeral’s merit lies as much in its camerawork as in its screenplay. [...]
The entire film is shot handheld in long takes, excellently using staging and blocking to depict the relational dynamics between the siblings, while beautifully building the plot along the way. [...]
What gets you about Funeral isn’t its nifty design, but the statement it so effectively makes with it; that though the truth, ugly though it may be, could be in plain sight for all to see, one might miss it until it’s all over and too late. "
SRISTI GAYEN, INDIE SHORT MAG
LE LINCEUL ( THE SHROUD) 2018
"Le linceul" Bathed in the Atmosphere and Aura of Horror ... It is difficult to describe Le Linceul without ruining what should be an experience untainted by overly revealing reviews or advance knowledge. Suffice it to say that this is a film that looks and feels like classic horror, yet benefits greatly from contemporary technology. If you get a chance, you'll definitely want to check it out. "
RICHARD PROPES, THE INDEPENDENT CRITIC
"... What makes ‘Le Linceul’ different amongst its contemporaries is the way in which the horror genre has been tackled. With traditional narration, languid pace, developed characters being the premonition in themselves of the dreadful news, ‘Le Linceul’ is the coming back of the stock horror movie narration style. Complemented with stellar performances by the entire cast, ‘Le Linceul’ is a must watch for those who are an aficionado of this genre, and even otherwise…"
NIMISHA MENON, INDIE SHORT MAG
"...French director Marie Vandelannoote’s new thirty-minute short “Le Linceul” goes back to basics to give us old-fashioned Gothic horror, which compared to the current French and Hollywood gorefests over the past two decades is very much a welcome relief..."
"Director Vandelannoote, has the patience to create a languorous, dreamy atmosphere, and Julia Gratens succeeds in convincing us that she is a normal person in a disturbing situation and not just a standard-issue horror movie hysteric."
JOLLY MOEL, SCREEN CRITIX
"A glass doll-house full of opaque and bizarre fixtures that has been beautifully put together..."
"A whole load of moody and fun exploits fill The Shroud. Also, one can’t help but love its portrayal of Gothicness."
BEN RIDER, THE MONKEY BREAD TREE FILM AWARDS