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Friday, August 14, 2015

Fantasy Short "Orphyr" Casts a Spell On The Small Screen

"ORPHYR" (2013)
Genre: Fantasy
Length- 16:22
Company: La Fabrique

Village drunk Orphyr (Stephen Ropa) stumbles out of the tavern one night and discovers a lost child (Elodie Meresse).  Though he doesn't have much, he gives what he does have to her so she can get home -- and discovers that this "child" is actually the Green Lady (Elisa Briche) in disguise, a forest fairy fascinated by the simple, trusting Orphyr.  She rewards him beyond his wildest dreams, but Fredine (Corinne Masiero), the dishonest tavernkeeper, is determined to take advantage of him.

THE BARTER SYSTEM

"Orphyr" is a fun, family fantasy short film coming to us from La Fabrique, a film production company in France.  It's a fairy tale in the traditional sense -- it uses repetition, in this case, the number three, which has a fine history.  Think A Christmas Carol -- the three ghosts, for instance.  It's called the Rule of Three.

The production values are all top notch.  This film looks and sounds like it could be a theatrical release.  The actors do a fine job, even though it's all in French and I can't speak the language, the subtitles let me know what was going on.  Everyone sounded credible though and intonation goes a long way toward authentic performances.

But . . . those subtitles.  The translation was bad, at times accidentally amusing with their misuse of words.  You can overlook it, but it is distracting.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

The screenplay didn't sell me on the story.  Orphyr wanders from location to location, we never address his drinking or his obvious alcoholism -- it's perfectly OK, in the world of the story, that he is a middle aged man who is incapable of engaging with the world due to his drinking habits.  In addition, a character close to him makes a decision three quarters of the way through that would seem pretty major that is never brought up again.

"Orphyr", the film, is meant to be light children's fare, and alcoholism and its effect on society is not, so I can see why they wouldn't touch it, but it seems like a strange thing to have in the film to begin with.  Is his drinking supposed to coincide with his childish traits?

I'm not sold on that, either.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2.5 / 5.  The script wanders a bit and could've been a bit tighter, especially regarding the aforementioned alcoholism and the character move.
Directing: 4 / 5.  Nice, light and airy camera work from writer/director Jonathan Degrelle.
Editing: 3 / 5.  The pacing is a little slow and the film feels long, but it's cut together well.
Sound/Music: 4 / 5.  I much enjoyed the score by Sebastien Renault.  The sound design is also top notch and recorded loud and clear.
Acting: 4 / 5.  Very well acted from front to back.

Final Grade: 3.5 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "Orphyr" and visit the official website.



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!