Leeds International Film Festival is proud to announce the winning films from the Méliès Competition. Both the winning feature and short film will go forward to compete for the Méliès d’Or Prize at Sitges in Spain next year. For more information about the competition go to www.melies.org
Méliès d’Argent Feature Winner
The Last Employee (Der Letzte Angestellte), Germany, 2009, Dir. Alexander Adolph
Special Mention – Feature
Savage, Ireland, 2009, Dir. Brendan Muldowney
Méliès d’Or Short Nominee
Yuri Lennon’s Landing on Alpha 46, Germany / Switzerland, 2010, Dir. Anthony Vouardoux
Special Mention – Short
Amock, France, 2009, Dirs. Xavier Goubin, Sarah Matuszack, Martin Vaissié, François Vico
In both the feature film and the short film competition, it quickly became clear to the judges that we were choosing between two films. Not because there weren’t lots of merits in the others, but in each case two stood out.
For feature film, we found ourselves discussing the merits of The Last Employee, and Savage. Totally different kinds of films, but each in its own way very complete and powerful. In the end we chose The Last Employee, while wanting very definitely to add our commendation to Savage. The Last Employee struck us as a really subtle piece of film-making, with lots of levels to it. At one level, it is a persuasive spooky film. Hardly needing a ghost at all, its lurking spirits have a ‘presence’ in the furniture, in the machines, in people’s voices. At another level, it is a real puzzler packed with ambiguous possibilities – we found ourselves working deliciously hard to get a coherent whole out of it. And we really wanted to, because the narrative, cinematography, lighting, editing, and sound all worked together so well. Finally, it seemed to us to have another level. Here is something – not quite an allegory, that would be dull – a quizzical look at the dangers of work taking people over, so that they live, and die, for it. All this and more made us want to award the prize to The Last Employee and made us want to see it again, so we could sweat some more over the bits we hadn’t yet quite fitted together! Savage affected us in a different way – a brutal, powerful and brave piece of filmmaking with an impressive central performance at the heart of it, we felt that the film deserved to be recognised by a Special Mention.
For the short film programme we found a consistently high quality across the programme, but ultimately debated again between two. This time it was either Amock, or Yuri Lennon’s Landing on Planet 46. Again, after quite a bit of debate, we plumped very firmly and unanimously for the latter. Amock was a wonderful little film from a group of French students, and its makers will surely go on to good things (the halo of smoke emerging from the book – wow!). But Yuri Lennon was something special, a gem of straight SF film-making. Shown as one continuous shot it packs a huge amount into showing you so very little! Narratively it reminded one of us so strongly of those wonderfully twisted 1950s EC Comics! We’re not going to tell you much more about the film, but you should see it – whilst singing “I’m A Lonesome Cowboy” to yourself in an off-key voice …
We had a great selection to work from, but found ourselves agreeing really clearly on both choices. Thanks to the Leeds International Film Festival organisers for asking us to do this!
Steven Sheil, Director of Mum & Dad (Méliès d’Argent winner 2008) & co-organiser of Mayhem Film Festival, Nottingham
Marc Price, Director of Colin
Martin Barker, Professor of Film & Television Studies, Aberystwyth University