Gobelins: “Un tour de Manege (Merry Go Round)”

Watching Un tour de Manège (Merry Go Round) is like flipping through the pastel drawings of a child—but coming away with clean fingers. Directed by Nicolas Anthanè, Brice Chevillard, Alexis Liddell, Francoise Losito, and Mai Nguyen, this latest Gobelins short is an impressionistic tale of being lost and found, as experienced through a child’s eyes.

Saying so much by doing so little, Un tour de Manège gets it right. It’s tactile: full of tonal and shading effects, chalky, and sprinkled in baby-powder. It’s innocent: tapping into the existential dramas of childhood, and like many works from the Gobelins school, crystallizing emotions like fear and loneliness in graphical simplicity. These moments are brief, but define a coming of age for the character, and help to humanize the inherent flaw by providing an escape from reality. Liberation by imagination.

The narrative is simple, buttressed by the fundamentals of good storytelling, and follows the same three-act structure documented at the turn of the 19th century. Much is left unexplained. The audience is left to fill in the blanks, without papering over the poetic nuance.