Annecy Competition Short ‘Not In Love’ Illuminates World’s Oldest Profession

Emerging talent Eugénie Bouquet and her illustrated dialogue on the intricacies of sex work “Not In Love” (“Pas Amoureux”) explores one of the few remaining real taboos in Switzerland: Sex Work. 

Written, directed and animated by Bouquet, and competing at Annecy among graduate shorts, the four-minute chat centers on Judith, who recalls experiences with disabled clients and the act of sex outside of a traditional romantic relationship. 

Using drawing on paper, cutout animation and 2D computer renderings, the artist depicts a casual afternoon sitting alongside her subject on a bench at the Parc des Bastions in Geneva, the two discussing the world’s oldest profession with the nuance and space that invites taboo-shattering discourse. 

“I knew I wanted to make a film about sex or sexuality, since it’s a topic I love to discuss. I met Judith, my protagonist, through a mutual acquaintance of ours who had worked under her. Judith was kind enough to accept an interview with me and after listening to her and recording our conversation, I decided to turn it into a film, “Bouchet told Variety

“Sex work is still really taboo in Switzerland, even though it’s legal and regulated there. Judith didn’t need me to make her voice heard, she’s been an advocate for sex workers rights for years. However, I thought that even if I could just use my film to get a conversation started in my own social circles, that’d be worth the effort, and I’d be satisfied.” she added.

The blending of artistic styles serves to dissolve any space between the two, as silhouettes melt into depictions of Judith’s lived experience and back again. Birds gently chirp over the speech dotted softly with a tender, grounded nostalgia and a knowing laugh or two.

“I wanted the style to be as “tactile” as I could make it, with the characters drawn on paper and digital textures added in post-production. I wanted the viewer to feel that someone had drawn and painted the film they were watching,” Bouchet commented. “I think that for a topic like this one, animation can be a playful medium and make the topic seem more approachable to the audience, which was important to me.”

“Not In Love,” which bowed in 2022 at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, is produced by Jürgen Haas in coordination with theLucerne School of Art and Design, with world sales rights to HSLU Studienberich BA Animation. 

Festival Distribution is secured by Bouquet, whose prior animation credits include“Sweet Nothing,” an erotic comedy short from Marie Kenov and Joana Fischer.

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