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Pictures from the Brainbox: A Weekly Dose of Indie Animation - Soif

This week, Chris Robinson takes a long drink from Michèle Cournoyer's Soif  

'Soif' by Michèle Cournoyer

Summer 2011

“A drink?” she asked

“Why not?” he replied.

It’s been almost 16 years since the last one.  During that time, his sister, father, and wife die. Then he got cancer. But, now he was clear and clean. There was new love, new hope. It was time to move out and move on.

A new life.

Fall 2012

The judge annoys him by calling it a relapse. It was no such thing. It was a considered decision. It wasn’t a response to the stress of cancer coming back or the chemo or the breakup or the anti-chemo meds or the alcohol. It was all about love and happiness.

A new life.

Winter 2014

Life is somewhat calmer now.

He sits in a cinema watching the World Premiere of Michele Cournoyer’s new film, Soif.  

danse macabre with a bottle, made in Cournoyer’s familiar hand-drawn metamorphic style, Soif depicts a woman’s relationship with that tantalizing old demon alcohol. Like the flow of a drunken night, the woman shifts, bobs, weaves and stumbles through a life soaked in booze until it finally threatens to submerge her once and for all.

Soif is not the first animation film about alcohol abuse but there is something so stripped down, honest and personal about this film that it lingers with him long after the screening ends. He doesn’t know Michèle or her experience, but he certainly recognizes the taste… especially that last glorious moment when he hears the voice gasping, grabbing and finding breath at the end.

It’s startling, exhilarating and hopeful. 

The animator approaches him after the screening: “What did you think?”

Caught off-guard, he jokingly says, “Ca me donne envie de boire” (“it makes me want to drink.)

Which he then does.

‘A new life’, he murmurs to himself, ‘A new life.”

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.