Image: Jonathan Vinel

With each new installment, Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto series evolves our comprehension of what video games can be. As the worlds become grander, with majestic arboreal vistas unfolding in the shadow of downtown skyscrapers, the game’s beauty clashes with the humor and violence of its gameplay. Add in the editing tools of its latest installment, Grand Theft Auto V, and modders have been able to exploit this world for exercises silly, neat, and metal as fuck.

Now, French filmmaker Jonathan Vinel has taken GTA V experimentation to the next level with his new short film, “Martin Pleure.” The 16-minute short exploits the dissonance between the title’s gameplay and visuals by setting the melancholy story of a lonely, freckled everyman against scenes of meaningless, logic-defying violence. Watch a one-minute excerpt below.

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In an interview with Vice, Vinel says, “My interest in this movie was not to make a gangster movie. In some ways it’s the opposite of a gangster movie, because it’s very romantic. I like this opposition.” Vinel’s use of the game as his setting also speaks to themes of fantasy vs. reality. “Some of the youth think they can’t change the world, but in video games you can,” he continues. “I think video games allow these people to just live how they want to, and be happy.”

The film opened at the Berlin International Film Festival this week. We’re anxiously awaiting Trevor Philips’ review.

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