Currently up for this week’s Awardeo Video of the Week, When You Broke My Heart is a colourful short film by a group of French Animators about a King who loses his Queen when he ignores her for his video games, and then, after being confronted by a physical manifestation of his sadness, embarks upon a quest to win her back. It’s a love letter to Japanese kawaii and to video games, with an unexpected ending that reminds us that it is possible to have too much of a good thing:
I was immediately struck by how the characters in the film are quite fluid, and I don’t just mean the liquid movements of the amorphous avatar of sadness conjured by the King. Characters’ limbs and faces contort and stretch in such amusing ways, imbuing the film with loads of energy, with each grimace and double-take pulled straight out of Japanese anime. The video game references are numerous, from Space Invaders wallpaper and amusing arcade machines in the throne room (PacNyan anyone?), to the authentic-looking late 80s Gameboy, or ‘Geekboy’ as it is called, that helps the King on his quest. The authentic gaming sounds are nostalgia inducing, and are a fitting backdrop for the King’s obsession; Even though the King decides to give up his Geekboy to win back his Queen, he still lives as if he were in a video game, jumping from platform to platform before confronting the final boss.
As someone who plays a lot of video games and also has a special lady in his life, I definitely take the message of this film to heart. I’m not sure whether it was intended or not, but to me this film clearly demonstrates the danger not only of ignoring someone special in your life, but also (in its twisted ending) how easily you can take something which is meant to be a fun, occasional distraction and have it completely dominate your life. A big kudos to the film’s directors: Charles Lemor, Lisa Fenoll, Anaïs Gresser, Anna Masquelier and Laura Fleischmann.
You can find lots of behind the scenes concepts and designs on the film’s website.