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Diplomatie de L’Éclipse Review



Diplomatie de L’Éclipse, dirs. Clémence Bailly, Sélim Lallaoui, César Luton, Axel Mechin & Achille Pasquier, MoPA 3D Animation School (France)

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the Student Academy Awards is an international student film competition. Each year, college and university film students from all over the world compete for awards and cash grants. This year, the Student Academy Awards competition received a total of 2,443 entries from 720 colleges and universities around the world. One of the 2023 winners in the Animated short category is Diplomatie de L’Éclipse, created by five graduates of the Motion Picture in Arles animated film school. For over 20 years, MoPA has combined creation, passion and technology, and offers internationally recognized training in 3D animation professions.

“At the moment of alignment, of total eclipse, humanity will vanish. This was the message sent to us by the sun and the moon.” A voiceover delivers this haunting backstory that sets Diplomatie de L’Éclipse off on a breakneck pace for its incredibly dense seven-minute runtime. The World Council immediately convenes, and one man is sent to negotiate with the heavens. He leaves an incredibly realistically-animated Earth, where frantic rioters have taken over the streets in the countdown to the pending apocalypse, and lands in a beautifully heightened Heaven. A field full of pinwheels blowing in the wind lead the negotiator to the sun and the moon—two cherubic young children.



The five co-directors of Diplomatie de L’Éclipse, Clémence Bailly, Sélim Lallaoui, César Luton, Axel Mechin and Achille Pasquier move their beautifully stylized characters through a series of extraordinarily detailed environments. They almost seem to have taken it as a challenge to create a series of textures that are notoriously difficult textures to animate: water, sand, and fire are each rendered with incredible clarity and precision. Fire tears through the streets on earth as the heavens watch, children play on the shore of a beach, and the negotiator walks through a shallow puddle, leaving behind ripples.

Despite its lean runtime, Diplomatie de L’Éclipse is an absolute visual feast—it is no exaggeration to say that some of the most strikingly gorgeous animated images ever created are contained in this film. Light passing through an enormous stained-glass window, or a storm of glittering confetti falling in slow motion, or a sky full of stars in a glowing abyss of an abstract heaven will have viewers’ eyes wide and jaws dropped in disbelief of the sheer beauty on screen. The baroque classical and operatic score by Titouan Gramain and the dense sound design by Pierre Duchesne-Bénéteau keep the aural world as detailed and stunningly realized as the visual.



The first two attempts at negotiation between heaven and earth fail: earth shares with heaven the totality of humanity’s knowledge, and later makes an offer of power and receives still the same silence in return. The third option, all agreed but nobody dared say, left earth with no choice but the last thing humanity could offer: violence. Then, as Diplomatie de L’Éclipse rips through its plot, the sun and the moon rip right through the paper that they are animated on in a genuinely thrilling sequence that upends the very idea of what is possible in animation. Proving the maxim that animation is more than just a genre for children, Diplomatie de L’Éclipse is a stunning mediation on forgetting to contemplate the world, and a genuine work of art.

Diplomatie de L’Éclipse, and all of this year’s Student Academy Award-winning filmmakers will participate in an in-person ceremony on Oct. 24 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, where the winners’ medal placements — gold silver and bronze — will be announced. The ceremony is free and open to the public; advance tickets are required and may be obtained online at oscars.org.


Review by: Joshua Hunt

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ShortStick

The short end of the stick: The inferior part, the worse side of an unequal deal

When it comes to cinema and the Oscars it always feels like short films and getting the short end of the stick. Lack of coverage, lack of predictions from experts and an afterthought in the conversation. With this site we hope to change that, highlighting shorts that stick with you, predictions, and news on what is happening in the world of shorts. 

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