Krisis, a film by Élisabeth Caravella
Krisis, by director and visual artist Élisabeth Caravella, is a short film that plunges us into a ubiquitous universe, halfway between VR and first-person-shooter video games.
Artist and filmmaker, Élisabeth Caravella trained at the Arts Décoratifs de Paris and at Le Fresnoy, with video as her preferred medium. With Anonymous Call in 2009, she experimented with Photoshop software to create a detective story. This was the beginning of a series of films in which the software itself became the medium for fiction that willingly used humour and a sense of the absurd. The misuse of technological tools thus becomes central to the artist's work. In Howto (2014), a tutorial intended to teach us how to write text in 3D that goes off the rails. In her latest film, Krisis, we finally discover a young woman trapped in a VR relaxation programme that turns out to be faulty.
Krisis is like a machinima: a film made in a video game engine. Élisabeth Caravella is inspired by both the VR device and the first-person-shooter genre. The short film, which lasts about thirty minutes, immerses us in the struggles of a young woman who has put on her headset to launch a relaxation programme. A project that quickly turns sour when a shooting game mistakenly 'merges' with the first programme. It's the start of a journey through a dislocated world, interspersed with improbable telephone conversations. An experience that the director describes as "a kind of Alice in Virtual Reality Land".
The challenges of VR
Krisis is a project halfway between cinema and video game, which was conceived using specific tools for the creation of interactive 3D universes. In this case, Caravella teamed up with developer Jonas Mølgaard to create a vast environment accessible via a VR headset using the Unreal Engine. During the shoot, however, the director encountered several problems, including the inability to obtain the footage in sufficient quality. So the shooting data had to be exported to recreate the film in another software programme, which replayed the character's actions and movements like a previously written score.
Funded by DICRéAM (CNC), Krisis is a hybrid work, full of references to the world of video games. We find the forests of Call of Duty, the hangars of Counter Strike, or strange aggressive bots that evoke characters from the Halo series. The short film also features more subtle references to experimental games such as The Stanley Parable, which questioned the notion of interactivity and freedom in video games. Similarly, the protagonist of Krisis moves through theatrical settings and labyrinths that form a second, almost Ubuesque reality, where different mediums and realities feed off each other.
Krisis is presented as part of the Escape exhibition.
Initiated by the Institut français, the exhibition Escape, voyage au cœur des cultures numériques will be presented by the French cultural network abroad (Instituts français, Alliances françaises…) and his partners from November 2021.
Members of the diplomatic network will find information on how to schedule this exhibition on this page.