"Strong Enough" garners two prizes at Thaw 02
Best Musical and Audience Choice Award
"Strong Enough" (2001, left) won the prize for Best Musical (jury: Ximena Cuevas, Greta Snider, Stephanie Gray) and an Audience Choice Award in its premier screening at Thaw02, Festival of Film, Video and Digital Media . Organized by the University of Iowa's Institute for Cinema & Culture in Iowa City, Iowa, the festival ran from April 11-13, 2002. "Scene of the Crime" (2001) also premiered at the festival.
[…] This year's Thaw had humor and style […] My first prize for a video with intelligence, pathos, and wit goes to Strong Enough, by Pierre Yves Clouin. The video consists of one full minute of a beetle of some sort, perhaps what Midwesterners call a June Bug, struggling to right itself. It is an accident of these creatures' physiognomy that once flipped onto their large backs, it is very hard for them to get enough leverage with their tiny legs to flip back over. You've all seen it. But did you really look?
Strong Enough affords the pleasure of detail and the excitement of rediscovery: sitting silently in the dark with this enormous moving image as the only distraction, the audience was forced to observe tiny movements of the legs, to hope anxiously for a resolution which of course never comes. It wasn't long before certain members of the audience started to laugh, because it's funny, somehow, sitting there silently rooting for this bug. And, unlike many of the filmmakers who used their space for pompous intellectual explications of work that should have been self-explanatory, Clouin used his program blurb perfectly. He wrote: "I don't need your sympathy." Even without this suggestive comment, we would have laughed because the beetle clearly didn't care if we were watching, wasn't capable of playing it for the camera (God forbid). One could imagine a cartoon version of the same idea done on Sesame Street, but the real "face" of the beetle, which is to say its animal impassivity, lent its actions a certain dignity. It was fantastic: short, simple, and brilliant. […]
- Margaret Schwartz, PopMatters.com © 2002