earlier this year, filmmakers claire & max isolated the façades of paris’ iconic architectural sites and recreated them as seemingly two-dimensional ‘props’. after a recent visit to new york city, the duo decided to create a second experimental short-film — ‘illusion’ — that continues the reconsideration of an urban landscape as a faux movie set. skyscrapers, public and residential buildings seem to be flattened from their original, structural form, propped up on metal and wooden frames. 

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the new york city envisioned by claire & max is entirely detached from reality — it is a huge movie set, displaying only building façades without depth. in this mysterious urban landscape, inhabitants have a strange characteristic: a virtual beam of light extends above them, tracking their every move within the city. ‘the place of man within society is one of the favorite themes in our work,’ claire & max describe, ‘with the theme of emptiness, abandonment, and human impact on the physical and social environment. while our [previous] film ‘appearances’ wondered if our society was only a world of appearances and a fake world, ‘illusion’ shares the same concept and further proposes the idea that we could be handled, like mere puppets.’

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