León and Cociña's creative contribution to movie hit Beau is Afraid present in press

León and Cociña's creative contribution to movie hit Beau is Afraid present in press

León and Cociña's creative contribution to movie hit Beau is Afraid present in press

Ari Aster’s new film Beau is Afraid, which includes a beautifully bizarre sequence by artist duo Cristobal León and Joaquin Cociña, is now shown in theatres worldwide!

According to the BBC Beau is Afraid is ‘The most bizarre film of the year’. A good reason to give a little press overview about León and Cociña’s powerful part in the creative process of this miraculous movie.

Starting off with Martin Scorsese’s praise of the film during a GQ interview with Ari Aster, where he highlighted the production design during the film’s animated sequence, which saw him work with Cristobal León and Joaquín Cociña.

Watch/read the full interview here.

In an article on the platform WIRED, Amos Barshad wrote specifically about León and Cociña’s contribution to the film and called it the film’s ‘trickiest and techiest scene, […] a sequence securing the movie’s singularly strange affect’:

‘On a video call from Santiago, León and Cociña explained that during the 18 months of their collaboration, the whole team was never in the same room’.

‘Along with a team of about 20 artists, León and Cociña used a dizzying array of techniques to create the imagery of the sequence: green screen, hand-painted backdrops, life-size diorama-esque sets, rotoscope animation. “We wanted to create something where you could not tell exactly how it’s made,” says León. “It’s very hard to tell which element is drawn or which element is animated using stop motion. It was a huge laboratory for working with really talented people and combining techniques. A lucrative and fertile laboratory.

Adds Cociña, “In every single scene, you have at least three techniques interacting. Every single scene was a different battlefield.”’

Read the full WIRED article here.

The Wall Street Journal calls the partly animated scene the movies ‘standout moment’, […] a ‘short film-within-a-film’. Dutch newspaper Het Parool also mentions the self-evident character of the sequence by referring to it as a ‘film-within-a-film’.

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal here and check out the full Dutch article in Het Parool here.

In his movie review of Beau Afraid, reviewer Daniel Kurland says the following about the sequence: ‘[…] It could be removed from the film and still stand on its own as a bleak look into the fleeting, draining nature of life. As a short film, it would be the tonal antidote to Michel Gondry or even Wes Anderson. The synthesis between Cociña, León, and Aster is so effective and seamless in Beau is Afraid that it hopefully opens up some rewarding opportunities for the animators'.

Read Kurland’s full review here.

Thus, if you want to experience a film-within-a-film that is full of craftsmanship with each visual peeling back another layer of repressed feelings, leaving you in a distorted version of a theatre and making you part of the fiction, go see Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid in cinema’s now!

Publication date: 12 May '23