Recoding Entropia, a virtual reality film by François Vautier, is competing in the Venice VR Expanded category of the 77th Venice International Film Festival. It’s the third opus in Vautier’s anthology about evolution, making it one of six entries from France.
Venice VR Expanded takes place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike the previous years, the festival won’t be having film screenings at the Venice Lido. On the other hand, viewers will be able to access content for free online through a dedicated platform.
The Venice International Film Festival kicked off on September 2.
A Hypnotic Allegory in Virtual Reality
Recoding Entropia plunges into a dark abyss, following a floating metallic tetrahedron. Everything is calm and quiet until the geometric form explodes into a billion fragments. It fills up the negative space with chaos, undoing all that is rational and known. However, this act of destruction is also an act of creation, where everything solid melts into the air before condensing.
Vautier recounted with ARPost how the project was born in particular circumstances due to the pandemic. In confinement, he pursued the research himself, especially about procedural creation.
“I started to imagine the following concept: transposing the life [principles] of the biological world to the mineral world. In doing so, I managed to generate first images where life seems to appear from inert matter,” he said. This transposition allowed him to consider the movie through a poetic and hypnotic form.
According to Vautier, the short film is the experimentation of a life form opposed to chaos: entropy. It illuminates the constant tension between creation and destruction. Just as effortlessly as nature births new life, it’s simultaneously capable of wreaking havoc and destruction. It’s a hypnotic allegory, a paradox of existence, where life and death are interchangeable.
Through abstract forms and movement, the eight-minute film prompts viewers to reflect on their real and fantasized life. The immersive journey that is Recoding Entropia urges spectators to reflect on their life, their relationship to time and space, and their place in the world.
Recoding Entropia comes after Odyssey 1.4.9, which Vautier presented at the 2019 Venice Film Festival. Meanwhile, he showcased the first virtual reality film in the anthology, I Saw the Future, in 2017.
Using Virtual Reality to Explore New Horizons
Vautier sees virtual reality as a new cinematographic branch. In terms of writing for VR, he believes in inventing “a new syntax that will be able to surround its limits and enhance its possibilities.” “The point is not to mimic cinema but bring it to new experiences,” Vautier said. He emphasized how point of view is critical in any VR project because of how “this new format directly immerses the spectator’s body into the story.”
Vautier’s passion for all the new immersive technologies started out with a challenge from producer Jeremy Sahel of Da Prod. This was further amplified with the success of his first virtual reality film, I Saw The Future.
“VR brings exciting challenges, in terms of writing, directing and technology. This is why I intend to bring even more interactivity in my next projects,” he said.
This includes the two other immersive projects with Da Prod that he’s been busy with while also working on Recoding Entropia. As for his next VR film, he eyes Beta Aquarii as his next release, which will immerse spectators in an interactive universe inspired by Jules Verne.
But for now, Vautier returns to Venice VR Expanded with Recoding Entropia, the third part of his anthology about evolution.
Venice Virtual Reality Expanded 2020
The 77th Venice International Film Festival is featuring 44 VR projects. Only 31 are competing to take home three prestigious awards, one of which is the Grand Jury Prize for Best VR Immersive Work.
There are 13 Out of Competition projects. This includes nine Best of VR projects and four Biennale College Cinema – VR projects.
There are three ways to view Venice VR Expanded. Wherever you are in the world, if you have a VR headset, you can get access by subscribing ahead. All you need to do is complete the free access registration form. If you’re in France and you don’t have a VR headset, you can make a reservation at 104-Paris. A free pass lets you see 23 competing entries and all Out of Competition projects.
But with Accreditation Access, you can view all VR projects—plus, you get exclusive content. Finally, you can have Physical Access through 15 satellite network institutions worldwide.
The announcement of the winners of the Lions, as well as other official awards, will happen during the festival’s closing ceremony on September 12.