Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Artifacts": a thriller about "body snatchers" shot in Belgium for a Cannes-sponsored contest

Artifacts” (or “Artefacts” in Flemish) is a Belgian thriller film made (in 2007) fon the fly by Giles Daoust and Emmanuel Jespers.  It was written by Giles from a germ of an idea, a young woman hearing noises in her apartment, for what sounds like a shoestring filmmaking contest., in 10 days (in the spirit of the 48-hour project, this one sponsored by Cannes).  Daoust invented the story on the fly and wrote the shooting script in about two or three days.   
The idea comes more or less from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”: the woman Kate (Mary Stockley), an entrepreneur, finds most of her friends being murdered by their doubles, some time after a photo of all of them had been taken together.  Each victim has had some bizarre alien artifact placed inside his body by some kind of surreptitious surgery (without scarring or shaving), which will digitize his memory.  The artifact makes a clattering noise when the double approaches.  The new body will have his memory but no sense of morality or personality.  In a sense, the victim will be “possessed”.  Is the doppleganger really the same person with the same soul? There is some explanation of an existential experiment by a character named Carl Francken (Max Dighby). The boyfriend who could save her (Felix Scott) has to resist temptation. 

There’s a concept a bit like this in my 1969 novel, “The Proles”, with time travel, where a person’s life could be made reversible.  I’ll get to that on my new Wordpress media review blog soon.
The film runs only 75 minutes, but the DVD has a 52-minute featurette “short”, “The Guerilla Fimmaking of Artefacts", where the two directors, composer, sound editors, and others explain how they made the film. The caption is “Don’t try this at home”.
I believe this film script was mentioned in a screenwriting class back in 2006 or 2007.  Film school teachers seem to know about this thriller.
The film was cast in London but shot in Belgium, with scenes in both filmmaker’s apartments.  The car explosion was done with Giles’s old car. 
The film was shot in HD (dogme style)  and the hue and color manipulated to look subdued.

Don't confuse this film with the documentary by Jared Leto called "Artifact", reviewed here Jan. 26, 2014. 

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