Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stories From The Machine Presents: A Woman's Trial - by Chantal Harvey

There are many things that can be said of virtual filmmaker Chantal Harvey. Prolific? Immeasurably. Creative? Without question. The encyclopedia of Miss Harvey's work is vastly diverse; From short corporate commercials and public service announcements earlier on, to bizarre comedic romps and short featurettes ripe with passion. More recently in her lengthy career - She has, perhaps, today more films of the Machinima genre than anyone else originating from her platform - over 150 at the time of this writing - and in that collective we bare witness to the evolution of a Machinimist. The volumes of work throughout her virtual life stand as a testament to the path she has walked, and where she stands today.

And today, Chantal Harvey has reached a a true summit of virtual storytelling. In her latest piece entitled "A Woman's Trial" Chantal has gone to a place she has never visited before in this medium. While her previous works have often been politely thoughtful or innocently fun, she has taken the application of her significant talent to the next level and sent shockwaves through the world of Machinima.

From the opening sequence of "A Woman's Trial" we are first caught by the unusually melancholy music - unusual for a Chantal Harvey film... and then her voice, seemingly from the recesses of another woman's soul, speaking with such distinction and restrained emotion that we are at once riveted, quite literally consumed in the marriage of powerful narration and vivid imagery.

With every syllable Miss Harvey utters as her sole protagonist, Gwendolyn, her audience is thrust further into the woman's distant past and impending future. She reminisces on her life, now as an elderly woman, and we see her in a series of fleeting, lush images dancing with youthful abandon in her prime years, circa 1900, when she held the city of Paris in the palm of her hand. Her story holds us in rapture, and the performance delivered by Chantal herself as Gwendolyn lends itself to the piece with such authenticity that one feels the strength and beauty of the piece resonate like tremors after a quake of the human spirit.

Having watched a great many of Miss Harvey's work, I believe that this film sits firmly at the top as a stunning example of her unique voice and tremendous talent, not only as a machinimatographer, but also as a storyteller and performer. "A Woman's Trial" is a triumphant film that genuinely pays tribute to her capabilities and possibilities in a real world industry. A true reward for any film-maker is having an audience that is so enchanted by a piece from the first moment that they care not which platform it came from, or how a shot was executed.. but when it transcends that boundary of consciousness and instead takes us on an emotional journey.

It is my pleasure to share this film with our Koinup community. It will take your breathe away.

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Unknown said...

I don't think any other voice could have told this story better and the depth of Gwendolyn voice and life deeply affect the viewer. With youth's past gloriously drawing our vision and the now elderly Gwendolyn walking and telling how her life proceeded without regret the viewer both admires her life and also feels the melancholy of her parents wanting her to marry since she wasn't pretty. Amazingly well done. Chantal just keeps growing from excellent to superb. Yes, her best work yet.

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