Robert K. Stephen
“The Subject” is a complicated 10-minute short that had its Ontario premiere at TIFF. This is the fifth NFB film by Bouchard who is a three-time winner of Quebec’s Prix Iris. “The Subject” is both produced and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB’s French Animation Studio in Montreal.
Bouchard has created a clay model of himself which he proceeds to cut open and destroy, This is not the first time an artist has destroyed his work. The reason is usually dissatisfaction but with Bouchard we have to apparent reason.
As he cuts open the body strange things begin to happen. Complicated machinery appears which in itself is a wonder to behold. Is Bouchard trying to say what is in our soul is complicated and mysterious?
A screen appears showing images of cells, strange images and simple flashes of light. Is Bouchard trying to make a statement about the unknown concerning the human brain. Its unpredictability or its creativity?
Then a mechanical merry go round appears. Is Bouchard trying to showcase the joy we experience as human beings or is it an episode from his past.
The model is not human but when cut open what appears to be blood oozes from the model. The final scene has Bouchard staring at the model’s eyes which start fluttering as if to open. In fact the model starts looking like the real Bouchard. Is a work of art nothing but the imagination of the artist? Is art a piece of the artist? Where does art and reality begin to meld.
I have watched this three times and am struggling with its meaning. Good art?