Wild Love

By Maryka Laudet and Quentin Camus | Animation
A young couple is hunted down by wild animals after a camping trip goes horribly wrong.

A young couple heads to the mountains to enjoy a romantic camping trip, complete with verdant meadows and heart-shaped clouds.

But when a hiking pole falls down a scenic cliff where the couple was grabbing a selfie, the pole kills a cute little forest rodent, to the heartbreak of its loved one. Vowing revenge, the animals band together to exact brutal revenge on the humans who have dared trespass on their natural habitat.

This Oscar-longlisted short — directed by Maryka Laudet and Quentin Camus, and co-directed by Paul Antric, Lea Georges, Zoe Sottiaux and Corentin Yvergniaux — begins with a charming, colorful and idyllic sequence of two hikers in love, enjoying nature and one another. It’s sweet and romantic — until a pole falls down a cliff they’re climbing, impaling a poor little groundhog below in a gruesome death.

The juxtaposition of bright whimsy with the macabre is the first clue that this short is no mere children’s cartoon. It may be called “Wild Love,” but the storytelling is truly a wild ride, segueing from romantic comedy into a dark horror tale of violence, mayhem and revenge. The visual imagination is dextrous and detail-oriented: the character and world design are both cute but increasingly creepy, whether it’s in the moodiness of encroaching evening haze or the growing martial-like bloodthirstiness of the forest’s rodents, which have banded together to exact revenge on the hikers.

The pacing and editing also know how to build sequences of tension, with brisk pacing that keeps the audience entertained and wondering what happens next. As the action propels forward, it achieves the tautness and tension of a climax straight out of a horror film — complete with a corpse puppet, a showdown and a grisly end.

Created via the same initiative that paired French animation school Ecole de Nouvelles Images with French animation collective MegaComputeur — which also resulted in last year’s Oscar-nominated Hors Piste — “Wild Love” is a thrill-filled romp that relies on a good amount of cinematic shock-and-awe — though much of the shock is in how far it’s willing to push at the cultural trope of the “cute animal,” one that powers the sharing of millions of videos, memes and social media accounts devoted to adorable critters.

But perhaps there’s a wary lesson for us humans, who have never quite been able to subdue the collective desire to dominate nature, whether it’s through brute force or the condescension of cuteness, however well-intended or seemingly benign. In a state of peace and rest, nature is beautiful, but it’s not just a backdrop for a selfie. When disturbed or damaged by human presence, the earth can marshal considerable resources — okay, maybe usually not in the form of an army of vengeful critters — in a reaction that’s pitiless against the people causing the problem to begin with.




You Might Also Like:

Feeling Through

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man at a bus stop who changes his life forever.

Brentwood

By Sharon Everitt | Comedy
A Star Trek actor tries to one-up his co-star in his return to Hollywood.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Discipline

By Christophe M. Saber | Comedy
A father slaps a disobedient child. Then a bystander threatens to report him for abuse.

The Landing

By Josh Tanner | Sci-Fi
A man uncovers the horrifying truth of what landed on his childhood farm.

Sometimes, I Think About Dying (Sundance)

By Stefanie Abel Horowitz | Drama
A woman thinks about dying. But a co-worker asks her out.

The Goodnight Show

By Charlie Schwan | Sci-Fi
A virgin tries to get laid before an unstoppable asteroid ends the world.

Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A young father who is cut off from his son takes matters into his own hands.

Retouch

By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
An Iranian woman's husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.

Lost and Found (The Oscars)

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Reception

By Joe Gillette | Romance
2 strangers at a wedding reception make an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
A man in a time-loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.