Laboria is an alum of Paris’ École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD), where the short was produced. In a director’s note accompanying the film, she explains:
Sound design adds another layer of discomfort for the viewer, as the buzzing sound that most of us learn to avoid at an early age is replaced by an increasingly loud, distorted noise as the human children begin to fight back against the bees.

The film’s synopsis reads:

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Juliette Laboria’s student short Pests (Nuisibles) (2021) landed online this week after a 2022 festival run which included screenings at Anima in Brussels, Fantoche in Switzerland, and GLAS in the U.S., where it won the grand prix.

With Pests I wanted to show another face of childhood: cruelty. We all played with insects or small animals once – witnessed or participated in some gruesome/ghoulish scenes that we still remember today, sometimes with little shame or disgust. I wanted to show on a big screen those scenes that we don’t usually film.
In the heat of summer, wasps are busy eating beautiful ripe and sweet fruits. But soon, other visitors intrude into the wasps’ peaceful life, taking a malicious pleasure in appropriating the precious treasures of the garden. A war is coming. On one side a group of children, and on the other an army of wasps. To each his own weapon. May the best win!

Laboria uses a monotype printmaking process to give her garden world a painterly feel, combining it with rotoscoping to add depth and movement which creates anxiety in any viewer who isn’t fond of bees, as the insects swarm over the children and their picnic.

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