- Country: Slovenia / Germany / France
- Initial release: August 5, 2021 (Switzerland)
- Film Director: Spela Cadez
- Running Time: 10 Minutes
- IMDB Grade: 6.4
In the realm of indie animation, Slovenian filmmaker Špela Čadež has made a name for herself with her thought-provoking and visually stunning creations. Her latest animated short film, “Steakhouse,” delves into the complex and challenging topic of psychological violence within the confines of a couple’s home. Through the use of the multiplane collage technique, Čadež aims to explore the invisible nature of psychological abuse and its devastating effects on the victims. In this article, we will take a closer look at the making of “Steakhouse” and the creative choices made by Čadež to bring this important story to life.
The Concept and Animation Technique
“Steakhouse,” a 9-minute film, is a co-production of Finta Studio, Fabian&Fred, RTV Slovenija, and Miyu Productions. It combines 2D animation with the analog multiplane cut-out technique, which Čadež previously employed in her acclaimed film “Nighthawk.” This technique allows for fluidity and the creation of illusions of space, making it the perfect choice for conveying the psychological aspects of the story.
The central theme of “Steakhouse” revolves around partner abuse, with the main character, Liza, facing domestic violence at the hands of her partner, Franc. The film explores the blurred boundaries between normal and abnormal relationships and delves into the reasons why some individuals become victims and others become perpetrators. Through the use of the multiplane technique, Čadež creates an immersive atmosphere within the closed confines of an apartment, where unspoken words and constant fear dominate.
Critical Reception and Awards
Since its premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in 2021, “Steakhouse” has garnered significant acclaim and recognition. The film has been selected for over 150 international festivals and has won more than 30 awards. Its unique blend of animation aesthetics and a powerful narrative has captivated audiences and critics alike. The Locarno Film Festival’s selection committee described “Steakhouse” as a mature and refined work, combining elements of fright and humor, with a biting feminist touch.
The Making of “Steakhouse”
In a behind-the-scenes video, Čadež explains her vision for “Steakhouse” and the creative process behind bringing the story to life. She emphasizes the need to portray the invisible yet powerful nature of psychological violence on screen. To achieve this, the film utilizes a combination of paper cut-outs, pencil drawings, and oil paints, seamlessly integrated to evoke a sense of foggy, burning emotions within the characters and their surroundings.
The Multiplane Technique and Psychological State
Returning to the multiplane set-up she used in “Nighthawk,” Čadež highlights the technique’s ability to play with light and shadow, creating a blurred and vague sense of space that perfectly aligns with the psychological state of the characters. The multiplane technique enables Čadež to immerse the audience in the protagonist’s mindset and effectively convey the emotional turmoil experienced by victims of psychological violence.
Festival Success and International Recognition
“Steakhouse” has made its mark on the international festival circuit, captivating audiences worldwide. Its screenings at prestigious festivals such as Sundance, Clermont-Ferrand, and Annecy have solidified Čadež’s reputation as a masterful storyteller. The film’s ability to tackle sensitive topics with nuance and visual artistry has resonated with viewers, leading to its widespread critical acclaim and numerous awards.
Collaboration and Production
The production of “Steakhouse” was a collaborative effort between Finta Film, Fabian&Fred, RTV Slovenija, and Miyu Productions. Tina Smrekar and Špela Čadež served as producers, with Fabian Driehorst and Emmanuel-Alain Raynal as co-producers. The film received funding from organizations such as the Slowenski Film Center, FFHSH, Re-Act, FFA, and Pictanovo. The distribution of the film is handled by KurzfilmAgentur Hamburg, ensuring its reach in theaters, particularly in Germany.