Ottawa International Animation Festival 2016: Louise en hiver

Louise values her peace and quiet so she barely even seems disappointed when she misses the last train of the season from the small seaside town where she likes to spend her summers. Through voiceover, she claims to be more annoyed than afraid to be left alone in this increasingly stormy abandoned town.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m no good at describing animation but at least here I can tell you that the OIAF website praises Louise en hiver for its “beautiful pastel imagery”. I can also show you some pictures.

Louise may not be a people person but 9 months is a long time to spend by yourself. Plus, there’s the whole “no one seems to be looking for me” thing which can eat at you a bit, especially when left alone with your own thoughts. So, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, she needs someone to talk to. And with no other people or volleyballs around, a talking dog named Pepper will have to do.

Yes, the dog talks. Unlike in Castaway, where Hanks’ conversations with Wilson were largely one-sided, we see everything from Louise’s point of view. It’s not always easy following this story through the eyes of the occasionally confused and forgetful protagonist. Reality, fantasy, memories, and dreams are interwoven so beautifully that it isn’t always easy to tell which are which.

Louise en hiver is worth the trip into a lonely woman’s mind. It’s quite a beautiful film from its simple yet effective animation to its sad yet hopeful meditation on aging, memory, and looking back.

Here’s the trailer.

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