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The Sinful Stop-Motion Pleasures of ‘Raymonde or the Vertical Escape’ 

If you’ve been waiting for a meditation on sin and sexuality from a french, anthropomorphic stop motion owl…good news.
Raymonde Or The Vertical Escape
By  · Published on April 30th, 2020

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To say Raymonde or the Vertical Escape is an odd film is an understatement. Set in an idyllic cottage in the French countryside, the short stop-motion film follows an aging owl (voiced by Yolande Moreau) who has remained celibate her whole life and now longs for companionship. Her only friends are imaginary representations of two historical transgressive figures, Saint Teresa D’Avila and Lady Bathory, who embody the fantasies Raymonde struggles to realize and express freely. She has become obsessed with the mailman, who sneers at her behind her back and calls her a witch. But, even as Raymonde becomes increasingly alienated from her fellow villagers, her tenacity is palpable, and sure enough, as the title promises, she eventually finds a surprising form of liberation.

Raymonde or the Vertical Escape is simultaneously otherworldly and familiar, with lush tactile renderings of pastoral countrysides, cozy gardens, and deep forests. Visually, the film is an absolute pleasure to watch, and the detailed renderings of ladybugs, snap peas, and aphids are enchanting in the proper sense of the word. Touching on themes of isolation and sensuality, the film’s intonations of darker films like The VVitch and Hagazussa are offset with an indelible charm and contagiously good humor.

You can watch Raymonde or the Vertical Escape here:

Who made this?

Raymonde or the Vertical Escape was written and directed by Sarah Van Den Boom, a French animation film director and co-founder of the Papy3D production company, based in Paris. You can browse Papy3D’s Vimeo page hereRaymonde premiered exclusively on Vimeo after a celebrated festival run and a nomination for “Best Animated Short Film” at the 2019 Césars. The film’s discrete cinematography was realized by Simon Filliot, and complimented effortlessly by the twirling music of Pierre Caillet.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).