In a dystopian of metallic wires, continuously spinning gears, and nightmarish creatures, human beings are being driven extinction, enslaved by these same terror creatures that rule the human’s once empowered world. Rounded up like mindless cattle for vivisection, humans dwindle in numbers and in spirit. When one human stumbles upon the embryo, the only object to which the creatures fear and the reason for the humans being vivisected, a new hope of freedom emerges out from the last of the human beings as the last freeborn man implants the embryo inside him. As the horrid creatures learn of the embryo’s whereabouts, a means to an end of their existence drives a frantic frenzy of nonstop destruction before their race becomes obliterated by the embryo’s uniting power.
“Mécanix” is a stop-motion, German Expressionistic film that’s a hard sell for most audiences. Director Rémy M. Larochelle and producer Philippe Chabot have extracted hell and beauty out of an idea of post technology cataclysm inspired by the DIY filmmaking. Spanning over a four year production and then another ten 13 years until U.S. DVD distribution, the 2003 released “Mécanix” creeps to make a cult film impact, but Larochelle’s film is making an impact nonetheless. The experimental nature, the stop-motion effects, and the entrenched expressionism of symbolism makes “Mécanix” unique and memorable thats a labor of love stemmed from Larochelle’s painting, drawings, and sculptures.
Back more than a decade ago, Larochelle sought to display technology and human interaction organically. The film doesn’t necessarily setup the series of cataclysmic events and lays down layers of assumption that humans have created technology and technology eventually goes Terminator coup, but, as if believing in the existence of the circle of life, technology can’t maintain without the human element and so they’re alignment ultimately comes together. “Mécanix” is a representation of that alignment that’s deeply subjective and disturbing, yet oddly fascinating, hooking automated teeth into an unsuspecting viewer.
Aforementioned, “Mécanix” took four years to completely conjure into a 70-minute motion picture feature. Within that time span, Larochelle painstakingly and thoroughly guides every aspect of the special effects, creating reality and fantasy together from through a 16mm camera to the spectacular finished product on screen, making the composited material flush and fitting for visual consumption. Also, ambient audio flawlessly helps bringing the sculpted terrifying creatures come alive who wield bulbous arms of clanky rebar and fleshy pulp, bares unidentifiable skulls protruding through cyborg tissue, and slither across the floor through dark crevices and nooks.
“Mécanix” isn’t an overly gory film, but it’s a hellishly wretched one coming out of Canada. Brief scenes of self-mutilation and depicted re-arrangements of the human anatomy are as about as graphic as “Mécanix” gets, subtly hinting more at explicit content. Stéphane Bilodeau’s freeborn man character, the male lead, and Julie-Anne Côté’s character, the female lead, born from the embryo have light weight speaking roles. The creatures communicate much more of their need for the embryo, giving inanimate characters a good slice of the dialogue, yet Bilodeau and Côté singularly convey their scenes appropriately despite never being in the same scene together. The two main characters present the only non-mechanical beings. Even the humans who are enslaved have a rigidness about them, android-like, while serving their master creatures, who some even don the use a wheelchair to move around – technology needs technology to maintain life sustainability.
Unearthed Films and MVDVisual brings the IPS Films, Creatio Ex Hihl & Avant-Gore Films “Mécanix” to the U.S. home entertainment market 13 years after the world premiere. Being Rémy M. Larochelle’s only feature film to credit, the director can’t be compared to his other work obviously, but “Mécanix” is a fine debut, especially with the amount of sacrifice put into his inspired “Begotten” similar artistic style. The DVD is presented in a in 1.33:1 full screen aspect ratio with a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that’s suitable for the drowning tone soundtrack from Southern Lord’s doom metal group Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine. The video quality is an attribute to 16mm standards, containing speckles of imperfections that simple add to the charm. The only extra included is an unorganized, yet entertaining interview with director Rémy M. Larochelle and Philippe Chabot, geeking out over answering prepped questions about the film’s formation and inspiration. “Mécanix” rarity will be the prayerful hope and the ultimate declination towards the film’s success as the market for experimental is never catchy with audiences, but the uncontrollable gawking over the “Mécanix” mechanical creatures and practical effects becomes unavoidable.