The art of the dead surrounds Fièvre, a lonely woman who spends her time creating stop-motion animations of dead animals moving as if they were alive. When a man comes to her, she gets the chance to use a dead woman in her art.
Andrei Tarkovsky meets Peter Greenaway in this colorful bomb of a short by Bertrand Mandico. His latest short focuses on a story purely on art, where "Boro in the Box" (the only other film of his I have seen) was a rather surrealistic epic-in-short-form about the life of a pornographer, this one is just a glimpse into a female artists' work and daily routine.
Fièvre is a lonely woman who collects dead animals for her art. She finds them out in the wild and brings them back home, where she takes pictures of them to create a stop-motion animation of them being alive. In the case of a rabbit, she makes an animation of it running. The dog whose innards where hanging out she makes run with roses under its belly. She manages to bring back a horse, which she animates as if it's just going about its day. A man sees her bring these animals home, and one day he contacts her because of the death of his wife. He wants her to be used in her art.
This is an absolute art film. It's an artistic portrayal of an artist creating her art - what else would you call it? It's a beautiful short about bringing life into something dead and the finale - the husband's wish to have his wife "resurrected" - is quite romantic.
The style is pretty much as mix of the above mentioned filmmakers, Andrei Tarkovsky and Peter Greenaway. It's carefully setup with fantastic cinematography. The vivid colors are simply breathtaking, and probably one of the reasons I had an interest in this after seeing the trailer. It manages to bring the calm, steady and dark atmosphere of a Tarkovsky film, but seen through the eyes of the colorful, painting-like Greenaway style.
Whether you want to watch dead animals used for art is up to you. There is no deny that "Living Still Life" is a remarkable art piece. The cinematography, the colors, the art setups are simply striking. It's just 15 minutes long and slowly moves towards a really romantic ending where a man's wish comes to life thanks to Fièvre's art. "Living Still Life" is macabre, yes, but it's stunning. Not as memorable as "Boro in the Box" due to it having less story and shorter runtime, but well worthy of a watch.