Tea time with Têtard [Tadpole]
What physical or digital media did you paint on for Tadpole?
I designed the film’s visual world on paper, painting with watercolors. Subsequently, I looked for ways of re-transcribing that aesthetic with animation programs, which took up a bit of time before I found something satisfactory. I used TVPaint for all of the animation and coloring.
How did you work on the atmosphere for the forbidden swamp?
I didn’t want a morose swamp that screamed “fantasy film”. The film’s tone is more ambiguous and invites the viewer to interpret the truthfulness of the events he’s seeing. So the swamp had to seem realistic, both visually and with regard to sound. There’s no dramatization in the music either. I based everything on swamps near where I live in Brittany. They’re very lively, luminous places.
Why did you want the older sibling to be hurtful and reject the younger one?
Malice is part of human nature, and children are no exception. You only have to watch them play together to see that they can sometimes be very cruel. And it’s even more pronounced among siblings, although that doesn’t exclude genuine affection too.
Do sibling relations interest you in particular and do you see yourself making other films on the subject?
I don’t remember very well now how the story took shape, but the relationship between the brother and sister quickly became a key subject for this film. I have two younger sisters which inspired much of the story. It’s better to talk about things you know! Sibling relations are very peculiar because you’re accomplices, rivals, enemies, guardians towards each other all at the same time. It’s very ambivalent. I don’t particularly see myself returning to the subject. I think I explored it as well as I could in Tadpole. Now I’m working on very different types of projects.
Why do the parents play such a limited role?
The moment the parents began to garner attention, it became a problem. Initially, they were much stranger, they seemed indifferent to events and smiled all the time. Then as the script developed, I made them more conventional, until they became clichés, with no peculiarities whatsoever. Their faces are barely visible, the father putters around, the mother bathes Gaspard… They had to be merely banal silhouettes because I wanted the viewer to exclusively take the children’s perspective and be completely submerged in the legend Lola recounts.
Have you discovered any advantages that the short film form offers?
Short films force you to be concise and to eliminate whatever is superfluous; it’s a constraint that requires a certain efficiency. I was able to make the film I wanted, with no outside interference. The story becomes more and more dreamlike as it develops, but at the end, you can’t decide whether what you’ve seen is real or not: you can’t say either “this is real” or “it was all a dream”. The short form allows for that type of freedom.
Which works did you draw from?
I don’t really draw from any particular works, I use just about anything that moves me in some way. For Tadpole, I studied J.M.W. Turner’s watercolors and the way he uses color. It was very important to me to create images with lovely colors since I find the films nowadays to be visually a little gloomy. Everything’s grey.