A Story for 2 Trumpets

By Amandine Meyer | Animation
A little girl shoves a boy into the water, then falls into a surreal world.

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 gritty social realism 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.

A boy and a girl are spending time together in a quiet, lush forest when the pair get into an argument. Hurt and in tears, which begin to fill up the forest, the little girl shoves the boy into the water and then falls into the water herself.

Now she enters into a kind of reverie, beginning as a very young child learning to play recorder with the help of an insistent goose. But she becomes frustrated with her teacher, even as she masters the instrument. After hitting and subsuming her teacher, she embarks on an even more fantastic journey into a series of constant metamorphoses and reinventions, including growing into womanhood and her role as an artist.

Directed by Amandine Meyer, this charmingly fantastical short animation is a lyrical fever dream, taking advantage of animation's potential for fluidity to capture the inner landscape of a little girl navigating difficult emotions and her human potentiality after a conflict. Drawn in a style that mixes hand-drawn line animation with watercolors and ripe with botanical and pastoral imagery, the short can function as a sensory feast for the eyes and ears, with its visual prettiness and innocently lovely musical score by Chapelier Fou. But its themes explore the almost mystical territory, meditating upon the notions of fecundity, growth and maturity along the way.

The style of the film captures the quiet untouched charm of childhood, with flourishes of color, instruments, toys and other childlike settings, where the young protagonist takes instruction from a goose straight out of a nursery rhyme. Certain visual motifs repeat, from the presence of tiny babies that emerge from surreal fruits and streams to the fountains that issue forth from her body and also the instruments she wields with increasing precision. Something about the way images melt away, spiral back and then bubble forth captures the non-linear process of growing up, mirroring the way a child practices a new skill doggedly, loses interest, but then returns to it with fresh energy and insight.

That process is not just found in the little girl's development into adulthood, but also as an expressive musician and artist. Both adulthood and artistry are woven together beautifully in "A Story for 2 Trumpets," both psychologically and visually, and the blurring of lines, chronology and certainty captures both the anxiety and poeticism of shedding old selves and growing new facets that characterize the process of learning.

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