Grand Bassin

Hello, all!

Today, I am going to share my thoughts on a really beautiful piece called “Grand Bassin” which features observations in a swimming pool. 4 directors and students at École des Nouvelles Images, Héloïse Courtois, Victori Jalabert, Chloé Plat and Adèle Raigneau collectively created this piece. It has been Oscar qualified and had 64 festival selections [1].

(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]

I actually came across this via Staff Picks on Vimeo. What caught my attention was the aesthetic – of large shapes and a striking visual – it really hooked me with the thumbnail.

What I find interesting:

  • Visuals – I personally really enjoy this 2D aesthetic of very solid, flat shapes – especially when paired with exaggerated shapes and sizes. It’s something that I have found difficult to achieve and is outside of my own artistic comfort zone but I really do wish to expand my skillset in this area!
(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]
  • It is mixed media of 3D shapes to give the character shape and weight – layered over a flat 2D background. Water is achieved using 3D and the reflections are done in 2D. I love this merge of the tools and how they work so fluidly together. To be honest, I thought that the humans were perhaps done in stop motion and coloured on top – the making process is really quite fascinating!
(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]
  • Sound Design- Now that I am working on my own film – I’ve had the chance to study the power of adding sound to animation. It really does bring it to life and experimenting with more creative, less organic sounds can be effective. The Creators have opted for sounds that hint to the audience as what is happening, such as under water resonances while also including more abstract voices and music, which matches as the film concept and visual is also a little abstract.
(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]

Background [1]

  • Setting: The creators chose the swimming pool as they find it to be such a unique public space to observe such strange but normal interactions between individuals [1]. A film which also showcases in complex and the unsaid of social norms and social pressures in this setting.
  • The creators chose to visually amplify the characters shapes, sizes and motion – in the same way that sound is often amplified at the swimming pool.
  • Sound: Sound was created in real life settings such as directly at the swimming pool, with a heavy focus on amplifying the sounds – as the amplified bodies move within the scene.

(ZF Team, 2019) [1] ,(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]
(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]

What I think:
I think that this is a really creative, fun and interesting piece! It’s really insightful to see such a public space through the lens of someone else’s eyes. It is also interesting to focus on the unnoticed. The choice of visual style is suitable and it keeps the audience engaged. The mildly ambiguity of this film keeps me wondering what is going to happen at the next scene. Overall, I think that this is truly successful and lives up to its merits.

Let me know if you also enjoyed this! 🙂

Until next time,


[1] Team, ZF., 2019. Grand Bassin By Héloïse Courtois, Victori Jalabert, Chloé Plat And Adèle Raigneau. [online] Zippy Frames. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 March 2020].
[2] Grand Bassin. 2019. [film] Directed by H. Courtois, V. Jalabert, C. Plat and A. Raigneau. École des Nouvelles Images & Miyu Distribution.

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