Dernier Acte, The Last Chance to Save Theater

Dernier Acte, The Last Chance to Save Theater
©Lloyd Dirks 2016

A theater-owner wants to create a shopping mall over a historic theater and a man wants to convince the theater-owner that his theater is worth keeping.

At first, this film was odd to me because I had to rewatch the film to understand what the possible meaning behind the film could be. There are two characters, the teaser-owner, and the man who wants to keep the theater alive. That man begs the theater-owner, Hector Danglard, to keep the theater up and running and realizes that begging Danglard isn’t working. We can only assume that this man works for the theater or has a high respect for the art. This man then tries to convince the theater-owner to keep the theater by explaining the history and secrets of the theater in a performance.

The man explains excitedly that the most famous actors have acted on this stage. He reminds Danglard of the Roman Emporers who lived in the theater, and the drama of Romeo and Juliet.

The man explains that Hippolyte, Phares, Cyrano’s all died at that very theater, who, are all important historic figures. While the man acts out his schpiel, Danglard gets uncomfortable and tries to leave the theater. Danglard wants to leave because the man seems to believe the theater is alive. Danglard later notices that the actual theater has humanistic features that are quite scary.  

In a sense, the theater is more than a building but a live, breathing, human with history. Danglard looks around and his surroundings become creepy figures and shadows in the theater and can see the man leave the main room which leaves Danglard alone. 

The man returns quoting plays and stating titles of famous acts as he delivers his speech full of reminders of the greatness the theater holds. All while the animation takes the theaters ceilings, walls, and other art and morphing it into scary eyes, teeth and other human features that freak Danglard out.

The man then goes off the edge and is really into his performance where the animation then takes over the screen and creates a scene in which the man holds the theater-owner in his hand and squeezes him. This is when the film ends. 

The abrupt end is perfect for the purpose of  “Dernier Acte (Last Act), created by Daphné Chabrier, Laura Hottot, and Cécile Peyron who are students. The film is a reminder of the history behind the theater. Because of theater we have gained short films, movies, musicals, plays, and music. We owe it to the theater to let it stand and keep history in its seats.

The end of the film is what left me want to watch a musical or play that I can get tickets to. The dramatic change of the film is the motivator to listen to the reasoning behind the man’s act. The infatuation he has with theater is beautifully explained to us with the superb animation of the film and writing. 

The only regret I have in watching this film is the story was told within 4 minutes. The time wasn’t enough for me to feel satisfied by the film. I wanted to learn more about theater and its history but it seems I may have to take this new interest and learn more about it myself.

Now while the man at the theater failed at persuading the theater-owner to keep the theater, presumably the theater-owner is now dead, he did succeed at enticing his other audience to look at theater as more than an old art but a historic and meaningful art with the purpose to spread culture.

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