08 19 Oct '24

Young Critics Review: La Sirène

Review 16 Oct 2023
During the Young Critics Workshop at the 50th edition of Film Fest Ghent, five aspiring film critics (ages between 18 and 26) from Belgium and from abroad write reviews and essays on our festival films.

Sepideh Farsi’s animated feature La Sirène is set in Abadan during 1980, the first year of the Iran-Irak war. The film follows Amid, a teenager who goes struggles in the middle of the conflict. The title refers to the sirens that warn the citizens about bombings. La Sirène has a vignette structure which resolves around the different explosions and shootings. In the middle of its frenetic pace, there is room for scenes that show a street football game, cock fights, and a kiss among the ruins.

The nonlinear narrative lacks consistency and becomes repetitive. This allows to pay more attention to colors and textures of the animation. The 2D is flat and unrealistic. The different figures in the shot lack a clear contour, so they are distinguished thanks to the different colors and tones. Paradoxically, this style makes evident some world’s shapes that sometimes do not get enough attention. For example, dust is very prominent. It appears in big pentagons, rhombus, and other shapes. Hence, something that in reality is very slight, in La Sirène becomes visible. Similarly, whenever there is an explosion, smoke is presented with soft tones that contrast with the colors in the background so that it is possible to see through it. The use of colors, then, helps to create scenes that have a depth of field akin to that of a three-dimensional world.

In the end, some of the characters escape Abadan in a ship, which is meant to provide with a sense of hope in the middle of despair. However, the actual hope in the film may lie in the way it helps to refresh sight, so that it is possible to see what’s in the surroundings despite its size. La Sirène makes the light that shines through things evident.

Jose Emilio Gonzalez

José Emilio González

José Emilio González is a Mexican cinephile. His texts are published in outlets like El cine probablemente, Correspondencias, Butaca Ancha and photogénie. He majored in English Literature; his thesis degree was about Matías Piñeiro and Shakespeare. In 2021, José Emilio González was a part of the Young Jury at Black Canvas, and, last year, he participated in the Guadalajara Talents Press. He is also the Programming Coordinator at Bogota International Shorts Film Festival (BOGOSHORTS).

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