Film festivals often give one the opportunity to view experiments in filmmaking available nowhere else. At this year’s Anthem Film Festival, part of the libertarian FreedomFest, two films with a continental twist played games with the minds of the audience. May Fifteenth in Paris, a ten-minute documentary, provides a history lesson using contemporary imagery. Re-Evolution, a narrative feature work-in-progress, does a mash-up of Atlas Shrugged and V is for Vendetta.
May Fifteenth in Paris
In May Fifteenth in Paris, prolific young filmmaker Janek Ambros uses scenes shot in Paris, France, on May 15, 2016, to illustrate the elements of a popular uprising, similar to the BREXIT movement in Britain and the Donald Trump victory in the United States.
Janek uses black and white footage for most of the film. As it begins, the music and black and white images create a 1950’s feel. This soon changes, as a narrator, speaking in French, begins to provide a history lesson about the popular uprising on May 19, 1848, which led to the popular election of French leaders after of series of dictatorships. The imagery quickly turns dark and violent.
Only in the last scenes do we see images partially in color when emergency vehicles arrive to deal with the demonstrations.
I asked Ambros whether he intended to compare the populist message of Donald Trump to what happened in 1848. He observed that some people interpreted the film that way, but that was not his intention. A preview of May Fifteenth in Paris is available on YouTube.
Director David Sousa Moreau created a film challenging in subject matter and style using an almost unbelievable filmmaking process.
The story involves four individuals who decide to create a revolution on the European continent using hacking and cutting-edge technology. The film reminds the viewer of the message of Ayn Rand’s epic novel Atlas Shrugged. In Rand’s story, the major industrialists in America go on strike to bring down the government. In Moreau’s story, this is flipped on its head as the conspirators try to convince the masses to stop cooperating.
The connection to Rand is intentional. Lines from her work appear in the film and one of the character’s, a news reporter, has the middle and last name “Rand Paul”. Rand Paul is the name of the libertarian American Senator from the state of Kentucky.
The story is told in a manner which is also challenging to the viewer. Flashbacks, police interrogations, and news reports are combined in such a way as to create a puzzle which the viewer must unravel. I found myself, confused and sometimes at a total loss as to what was happening. At the end, the various threads of the story come together, not to answer all the questions, but to suggest new ones.
The film was made for an incredibly small budget. To produce a feature of this quality is an amazing feat for anyone, and even more so for Moreau, who is a first-time filmmaker. In addition, according to Moreau, most of his budget went to pay taxes. But, what would you expect on a continent ripe for Re-Evolution. A preview, which includes details of the making of the film is linked below.