Review: Flow – Cineuropa

– CANNES 2024: Gints Zilbalodis’ endearing animated story about a black cat in the aftermath of a catastrophic flood is the hidden gem of this year’s Cannes Film Festival

Review: Current

After the drama of Laila Pakalnina The shoeit took more than 25 years for Latvia to gain a new place in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival. This long wait has finally been rewarded thanks to Gint Zilbalodis‘second year position, Current (+also see:
interview: Gints Zilbalodis
film profile
which premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the French meeting.

The story of this beautiful animated film, written by the helmsman together with a talented filmmaker Matiss Kaza, is as simple as it is fascinating. It seems the world is coming to an end – or at least we realize that humanity and civilization have been wiped out. The remnants of a human presence are still visible, but animals and nature rule our planet once again. In the aftermath of a major flood, we follow an adorable black cat – fearful yet charismatic and sweet – who finds refuge on a boat populated by various species. Escaping a catastrophe, the unlikely group of animals embark on a long journey together through mystical, submerged landscapes and face the dangers of adapting to this new world.

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At first glance you might feel some vibrations resonating loosely Strayed, an adventure game produced by Annapurna Interactive and released last year, and for good reason. In it, a stray cat moves through a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world. However, inside CurrentThere are no robots, there is little melancholy, and the entire color palette is much brighter – not to mention more hopeful – than the ubiquitous “doom and gloom” atmosphere typical of the Annapurna play.

That said, the pleasant visual appearance doesn’t imply the presence of a sugar-coated story; On the contrary, Current is a very emotional and captivating experience without dialogue, but enriched by conflicts and clashes. Most of these are motivated by the animals’ struggles as they follow their instincts and adopt behaviors that resemble, at least in part, human nature.

Furthermore, our black cat also goes through an interesting storyline, changing his relationship with the world through his new friends. It’s something that emerges naturally, and it’s certainly no easy task to show this kind of character development in a story without dialogue.

Furthermore, the soundscape feels real and immersive down to the smallest details (from the ambient noise to the cat’s sweet purring and meowing); the score is compelling and majestic. Aesthetically, the picture is pleasing to the eye and makes the most of a big screen experience. And of course the animation is smooth and well done.

Without mincing words, Current is the real hidden gem of this year’s Cannes. It is a story that focuses on animals, yet is so relatable and ‘human’ that it is moving and heartwarming, and it touches the hearts of children and adults alike. It has the potential to sell worldwide, perhaps marking the beginning of a brand new chapter for European animation.

Current is a European co-production led by Dream Well Studio (Latvia), Sacrebleu Productions (France) and Take Five (Belgium). Charades sells the photo internationally.

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