Years 12-13: Winner — Isabel Murphy, Bristol Grammar School; Runner-up — Eleanor Girolami; Special Commendation — Benita Richards; Dmitry Pastukhov; Catherine Mackworth
Years 10-11: Winner — Joseph Inwood, Sale Grammar School; Runner-up — Dana Stankovic; Special Commendation — Caroline Casey; Raghul Parthipan
Rewriting Le Grand Voyage
Students responded with tremendous imagination and sensitivity to the drama of Le Grand Voyage’s concluding scenes. The drama of illness or death was frequently taken up, applying this variously to Réda, his father or his mother. Minor characters’ roles were amplified: Lisa appeared, the mysterious woman in black was re-encountered in diverse locations, and Mustapha popped up again in different guises, including being ‘revealed’ as Réda’s true father! Some versions maintained tension within the setting of Mecca, whilst others ventured on the journey back to France and the consequences of the pilgrimage for Réda and his family. There was descriptive richness in vivid renderings of Réda’s struggle to find his father, as well as well-judged dialogue, often noting the language in which each character should speak. Thoughtful attention was paid to the cinematic presentation of a scene, specifying camera angle or point of view. Particularly effective were re-writings that themselves maintained a certain ambiguity: are we sure that a given action is really happening, or is it an imagined projection? What is the meaning of a particular gesture? How do a character’s thoughts relate to her/his actions in a certain moment?
Rewriting On connaît la chanson
Entrants engaged with relish with On connaît la chanson’s tangled web of relationships, with re-writings experimenting with all possible permutations of couple pairings. The drama of the death of Marc or Camille, by design or misadventure, featured frequently as a catalyst for these new interrelations. When not dying, Camille was sometimes found to be pregnant (with varying responses from the men in her life!). Simon’s role received interesting attention, developing him as a sympathetic figure or a character of concealed cunning and calculation. Nicolas’s wife also appeared on the scene, whilst Nicolas himself was dispatched (alone or in company) to several locations, from the South of France to Australia. There was many a keen eye for scenic composition and transition. Entries composed in narrative form often showed great dexterity in manipulating point of view between characters; script-style re-writings included stage directions and were sensitive to characters’ different traits of speech. The film’s pattern of musical insertions was picked up, adding songs from Jean Sablon to Stromae, Jane Birkin to Adèle. Finally, teasing out its characteristic flavour of oddness and strange coincidence, very successful entries incorporated some uncertainty into their ending (e.g. who, in fact, has been injured? We don’t get to see…) or produced a subtly unsettling mix of dramatic action and apparently insignificant detail. Unexpected patterns appeared, and as for the jellyfish…