Animated coming-of-age drama En Passant is distinctly Burton-esque. Literally so, in fact: the 15-minute short is the work of award-winning UK animation director Chris Burton.
But for many people, the Burton that will spring to mind is Tim: as much for his 2007 adaptation of Sweeney Todd, as for his own animated work – like Todd, En Passant is a musical, and a very dark one, at that.
The story of a mafia don’s daughter who falls in love with a street thief, the short takes both parts of the phrase ‘black comedy’ to heart. Despite its obvious charm, this is very definitely not a Hollywood production.
According to Burton: “I started to see it as less of an edgy love story and more as a way to explore themes like … the degree to which we can blame our actions on our upbringing. You know, upbeat stuff.”
A budget Blender epic
Upbeat it may not be, but En Passant has a cinematic flair that belies its shoestring budget. Animated in Blender, the short was created over a two-year period by a team of over 40 volunteer artists and musicians.
BlenderNation has already described En Passant as being destined to become one of the icons in Blender’s history – and Leeran Raphaely‘s score is superb, winning two prizes at this year’s Jerry Goldsmith Awards.
The lack of resources tells occasionally – in an interview with Libre Graphics World, Burton notes that the crowd scenes were a particular issue – but the direction carries things through.
Even if you don’t normally like musicals, En Passant is one to die for – for its characters, in more ways than one.