807. Fish Never Sleep – Gaelle Denis

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SUMMARY: Naoko, the owner of a sushi restaurant, is suffering from insomnia, which leads her to ponder why fish never sleep.

WHY IT’S HERE: French director Gaelle Denis is a true original and while her work is not always easy to understand, it is nevertheless strangely accessible. Her debut film ‘Fish Never Sleep’ has a dreamlike quality, ironic since it is about an insomniac. Influenced by her four months working at the Kyoto University of Arts, Denis’s film has a Japanese flavour which is accentuated by the vivid use of red and white, instantly suggesting the Japanese flag as well as the guts of the fish we see chopped at the Tsukiji Market, the biggest fish market in the world. Naoko’s philosophising reaches its peak following a symbolic submersion, a theme that Denis would repeat in her following film ‘City Paradise’. ‘Fish Never Sleep’ won the BAFTA for best animated short, its combination of childlike drawings and astonishing use of colour, as well as the mixture of the intangible and hypnotic, making for a very impressive debut from a unique talent.

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