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curated by Mangiavacca and Yorgos Kostianis

Shortcut is the new format of Asino Vola blog dedicated to short works: a carte that is not blanche at all for the directors of the past Concorto’s editions. Seems like a life ago from the last edition – the moonlight, the smell of hand sanitizers – but most of the public will remember Clean with me (after dark), desktop documentary winner of the Young Jury’s prize: Shortcut number 3 will explore the cinematic vision of Gabrielle Stemmer. 

After a master’s degree in literature, Gabrielle Stemmer studied the art of editing at La Fémis. During her schooling, she directed Doug’s Theory, a false fragment of a real documentary, and Clean With Me (After Dark), her graduation film. In addition to her work as an editor, Gabrielle focuses her personal projects on internet archives, the theme of misleading images and the question of the female model. Oscillating between documentary and fiction, she also directed Nullipara, Bolly Coco IRL and Women on Tik Tok.

1 – If you’d have to present yourself with solely one of your films, which one would you choose?

Clean With Me (After Dark) by Gabrielle Stemmer – 2019

Clean With Me (After Dark), my graduation project at La fémis. I made this film out of my unsettling passion for cleaning videos on YouTube. The original impulse was: why the hell am I looking at them? Which led me to the next question: who makes them and why? This film is very important to me, it made me tour on festivals and meet other filmmakers, it sparked a lot of debate with different audiences. And it is with this film that I started to work on both a material and a form that interested me enormously.

2 – A short film you’d put in a time capsule for future generations to watch.

Mat et les Gravitantes by Pauline Pénichout – 2019

I chose Mat et les Gravitantes, by my colleague Pauline Pénichout at La fémis. The grain of the image, this group of intense young women, their questions, demands and revolt make you feel like you actually just opened a time-capsule from the seventies and a Carole Roussopoulos movie. But in the words of Mat and her mates, you hear the voice of nowadays struggling femininity. It’s a beautiful short – and also quite informative!

3 – Your go-to film for when you get the blues.

– Semiotics in the Kitchen by Martha Rosler – 1975

I discovered that one recently, but it’s the first that came to my mind. I love the way she approaches a real issue in a mischievous way. But my honest answer would be: when I have the blues, I just watch Friends bloopers like everyone else.

4 – A psychotropic animation that sends you down the rabbit hole.

– Le Repas Dominical by Céline Devaux – 2015

I love everything about it : the drawings, the music, the words, Vincent Macaigne voice, and the mood swings in a snap!

5 – A short film that you consider a hallmark in short film history.

La Jetée by Chris Marker – 1962

A hallmark in cinema history – period – but I had to mention it. It’s just a masterpiece, ageless, tender and yet so dark. I have it on my phone, just the sound with no image, and I listen to it during my whereabouts. Jean Négroni’s voice and Trevor Duncan’s music keep me compagny in the subway or down the streets.

6 – A short film that left you gawking speechlessly at the screen.


 Eût-elle été criminelle by Jean-Gabriel Périot – 2006 

I’m a big fan of Périot’s work. He has such a clever way to mingle with archives and mingle us with them. This short in particular, dealing with the dark side of the french Libération in 1944, operates by reframing and slowing images – a process that I’m particularly sensitive to. The absence of voice over too, inspired me a lot long before I discovered the film which will be my next answer.

7 – A short film that gets you in the mood

– Transformers : The Premake by Kevin B. Lee – 2014 

That one movie makes me in the mood to create, to investigate, and to be playful in my work. It’s a mindblowing digital investigation, starting on a rather harmless point and leading you to a relentless conclusion. There is something so contagious with desktop movies : you feel like you can make your own, and that the internet is a vast territory at your complete disposal… there are no limits.

8 – What do you miss most about film festivals?

What I miss most is eavesdropping on audience reactions, how they laugh or stop laughing, how they hold their breath or whisper things to each other, or even the oh so familiar sound of a phone hitting the soft carpet. I also miss the post-screening beer, in the crowded bar or on the grass outside the movie theater.

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