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This Beautifully Animated Short Film Wants to Save the Alien Sky Whales

Which planet is it? Is it some distant star? Is it one a bit closer to home and farther into the future? Panacée (French for panacea) wants you to puzzle that out for yourself.

The short film was written, directed, and animated by Jules Boulain-Adenis (aka Naleb), and it shares a glimpse into a world of scientific sorcery and flying whales. Fair warning: the small amount of dialogue is in French without subtitles, but the artwork and simple story of life, death, and rebirth speak for themselves. (Although if someone who speaks French wants to translate for us in the comments section…it would help us draw out the nuance here and would be appreciated. Merci in advance!)

Children of the ’90s may get a special kick out of the animation style, which echoes a movement in pop animation from back then on shows like Liquid Television. It’s a kind of realistic anime that evokes the Japanese form without the exaggerated features. With Panacée, it’s used to create a menagerie of fantastical creatures preserved in a buttery time capsule to be discovered later by scientific explorers Alpha (Mathilde Boulain-Adenis) and Nova (Merieme Mesfioui).

PANACÉE from NALEB on Vimeo.

Yes, the weird crew of beasties and the massive whale skeleton are tremendous, but also keep a keen eye on small details like the shared symbol on the explorer’s foreheads, the softly-rendered sky, and the impressionistic grasslands.

What’s the best creature? My vote goes to the flying smiley face silently, ridiculously guarding the skies at the end. What kind of conditions have to exist to have that and a flying whale evolve and live together? How can we achieve that here? Give us your theories in comments.

Image: Naleb

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