Omeleto

Pests

By Juliette Laboria | Animation
An army of wasps fights a group of kids for the same meal.

Omeleto is partnering with Unifrance as part of their annual MyFrenchFilmFestival event, which showcases the formidable range of contemporary French cinema. From dark dramas to absurdist comedy to socially realist grit to thoughtful reverie, all the films are distinguished by the excellence of quality and a commitment to cinema as a vital, visionary art form, nourished by a supportive, innovative industry.

In the heat of summer, wasps are busy eating beautiful ripe and sweet fruits. The fruits, voluptuous and juicy, are bursting open, providing delicious sustenance for the buzzing wasps in an idyllic garden.

But soon, other visitors intrude into the wasps' peaceful life. They're loud, big and careless, and enjoy grabbing up the precious treasures of the garden. But the wasps want their food, pitting themselves against the interlopers. Soon a war is coming, with one side a group of children, and on the other an army of wasps.

Created by Juliette Laboria, this short animation has a beautifully hand-crafted quality, with colorful, evocative paintings of fruit, bugs and trees undergirded by the sounds of a summer afternoon. The film is frankly gorgeous to look at, full of vibrant color and capturing the richness of nature and the bounty of the season. Teaching us to watch closely, it pays close attention to the movements of the wasps, who are gathering up sustenance in the juicy sweetness.

But quickly nature's beauty is interrupted by a group of children, who scoop up the ripe fruits for themselves, arranging their spoils in an impromptu feast of sweets. The wasps aim to protect the food for themselves, but the children assert themselves as the dominant species. What emerges is a small but violent battle between two forces, which quickens the pace, dynamizes the editing and revs up the action to a surprising level of suspense.

One attack leads to a counterattack, escalating "Pests" into a classic battle of humans versus nature, where people contend against the impersonal but pitiless aggressions of the raw, natural world. And though humankind asserts itself at the end with a drastic measure, it's not without considerable cost to the children -- and questions of just what costs we pay for our victories in this arena.





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