Have you ever seen anything so moving, so much so that it touches your soul? The Chaperones is exactly that. This short film takes place in the early 1970’s with two exclusive narrators Ralph and Stefan. In this short film the events that are shown are based on a true story, accompanied by some handmade animations and plenty of miniature sets. The Chaperone a film by Fraser Munden encourages the importance of standing up for ourselves.
As the short film starts the narrator explains in simple detail the mindset of a student, how they correlate teachers with school. With a first-person narrated feel, it is explained that educators are seen in a certain type of light, they are special and absolutely not human. Ralph, the school teacher in this film, was oddly dressed in basketball shorts as he always did in order to play basketball, like any other person; This of course was incredibly strange to all his students, as they were shocked to see a teacher in human clothes, woah. Setting up the mood for the short film.
Diving into this film, we are given a sense of utopia. Taking place in the Montreal, 1973, the story begins to unfold. The setting takes place in a church basement dance that is held every Friday night. Most of the participants in this dance ranged from the age of 12-14 years old, an innocent age. Of course, the chaperones that were entrusted that night consisted of Stefan “ a disk jockey, Peter “ working at the refreshments counter, and Ralph “ the appointed chaperone, which is also the teacher from beforehand wearing the basketball attire. A very wholesome group of individuals. This is where the trouble begins.
As any other tame Friday night, everyone was having a good time at the dance. Suddenly, a group of bikers came strolling in with intention of creating chaos, most ranging from 18-40 years old. These bikers, twenty or so of them, are explained to be different with their leather jackets, tattoos, gang affiliation, drugs, and no sense of respect “ simply scary.
With the intention of dominating that church, the bikers begin to torment the students/young crowd, dousing them with beer, picking up the incredibly young girls and placing them on their much older lap, and finally peacocking, as explained by the two narrators, Stefan and Ralph, as staying in a group and showing off their ability to intimidate others with their frightening appearance. We are then introduced to a new form of intimidation, miniature sets.
The miniature sets were built to personify the feel of when anyone goes into a frightening neighborhood but is surprisingly represented by puppets. Absolutely terrifying. These puppets create the outlook of regular folk being driven by a pink sheep dog in the bad part of the city. This pink sheep dog represents a more powerful leader and the human like puppets represent the quite ignorant and scared part of humanity. They enter into this neighborhood which is littered with blue wolfs, these wolfs are wearing gold chains and wife beaters on, handling miscellaneous sorts of drugs, being involved with violent paraphernalia, and to top it off, it has the added sounds of police sirens blaring in the background.
The pink sheep dog, who is driving, then steps out of the vehicle and protects its’ humanoid puppets. So, why all the different miniature sets? According to Signey Sheldon the neural structures critical for constructing spatial relations are also important for vividly remembering the past and constructing imagined scenarios (Sheldon, 2017). Meaning that when trying to successfully train, or teach, visual aids of more than one form is very effective as it toggles the brain to remember to a specific event because of our ability to recall visual aids in a simple manner. In this case Ralph represents the strong pink sheep dog, a protector.
As he becomes aware of the kids, that he was entrusted with, becoming terrified, he then breaks the tension by stating oh boy this looks like a problem when you are so called a chaperone, or you have people under your charge, the responsibility lies to you to make sure that nothing goes wrong, that you’re protecting them, and things work out quite well and you have to. The Chaperone (Fraser, 2013). This is the part of the film that gets interesting.
As Ralph, whom was speaking, begins to put his thoughts and words into play, he decides to take charge and take control of the situation. He tries to reason with the biker gang, but it is to no avail. From the three men’s clothing, early 70’s style, the bikers knew they were push overs. They were wrong, as they got a rude awakening. The three adults protecting these children were afraid of the biker gang except for Ralph, he ordered lock the doors, let’s stop this. Ralph was ready to protect. This engaged a scenery of epic proportion.
The fight scene. Although Stefan was terrified of the biker gang, he was the first to throw a stool to Ralph and like a super hero, Ralph catches it in midair. He begins to swing from left and right, peter turns off the light, and both Ralph and Stephan start throwing heavy metal foldable chairs into the air hitting several bikers. This didn’t last so long as the bikers retaliated and started throwing them back, accidently hitting a kid which caused Peter to turn on the lights. This aggravated Ralph, causing him, just him, to move into them. He then asked You wanna fight?. How iconic is that question. He then finds the leader and knocks him out; causing a flurry of exploding pi?±ata heads “ another miniature set.
This particular miniature set undoubtedly changes the whole setting. As the fights progress, we are met with heavier rock music and explosions of course. This entices the audience to feel justice in the world. Ralph then starts to throw punches, karate moves, and when any of the bikers tried to get up he would knock them right back down.
As we imagine this scene, one cannot help but think violence is bad, Daniel Sweeney says The law of self-defense is a law of necessity; the right of self-defense arises only when the necessity begins, and equally ends with the necessity; and never must the necessity be greater than when the force employed defensively is deadly. (Sweeney, 2016). Meaning that self-defense is the only acceptable time to fight, no matter the cost, self-defense is a right. We must embrace the right but not abuse of it.
Very humbly, Ralph admits in this story that it was not his punches or moves that kept the bikers down as most were under the influence of drugs, lowering their reflexes. Stefan and peter then stepped in and took care of one biker each. On the other hand, Ralph, the non-human teacher took care of the rest of these bikers with his fists. The story ends with the police arriving, and the narrators explaining that this specific fight lasted for about ten minutes to its audience.
When the police question the incidents that took place, all they replied was these boys came in, this is what happened. This was acceptable back in those days, even the parents of the youngsters agreed with these acts of heroism. Stephan then sidetracks to an animated representation of survival of the fittest using an ostrich and a baboon, where the baboon tries to steal an ostrich egg but fails.
Stephan explains if you are weak, people pick on you, they take advantage and if you don’t respond to what they do, they’ll just continually badge you and pick on you, you have to frighten them, and you have to attack first. The idea isn’t to attack first, because most of these guys don’t know how to fight, that’s the reason why there’s strength in numbers, that’s the reason why they travel in gangs, because single one or two of them out and they’re pussies. It’s as simple as that. Absolutely incredible.
This short film is action packed, good vs. evil and is very wholesome up until the very end. With a non-scripted first-person narrated voice, we are walked through the entire events that occurred. The hand drawn animation, the miniature sets of puppets, and animated animation truly bring this short film to life. With all the fun that is represented, it seems as if the target audience was not just one group of people, but everyone. The entire vibe of this film is not to be aggressive, although explosions and rock music are fun, truly the message is perceived as our right to stand up and defend ourselves, no matter the size of the other person. we must be brave.
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