Directed By: Michèle Cournoyer
Written By: Michèle Cournoyer
Awards: Won the award for Best Animated Short
Trivia: Played at 2009 Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival
Written and directed by Michèle Cournoyer, 2008’s Robes of War presents armed conflict as seen through the eyes of a woman, one so completely torn apart by war that she herself has been transformed into a weapon.
Featuring hand-drawn animation, Robes of War is a most unusual anti-war film, relying not on gruesome imagery, bot on a series of interesting transitions to get its point across. With an unnamed woman at the center of it all, the film watches as her body twists and contorts, forming into dangerous weapons (most notably an armored tank) and, even more intriguing, into men on the battlefield (the fingers on both hands change into soldiers, each armed and fighting their “enemies” on the other side). Perhaps the film’s most clever, and indeed most troubling transition occurs when the woman appears to be crying. Instead of a tear rolling down her cheek, though, it’s the body of slain soldier, which she then cradles as if it were the remains of a close family member.
Cournoyer’s Robes of War definitely has something to say about warfare, and how it affects not only the men who fight, but the wives and mothers left behind, each of whom feels the war as deeply as those on the battlefield. The fact that Robes of War is also quite stylish and visually arresting only works to its advantage.