The Shape focuses on the value of the freedom of expression, both in terms of individual citizens and the wider media, as contained within Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. To explore this theme, the film uses the metaphor of a black ‘shape’, hovering over a small village. As the cloud engulfs the village, all forms of media – TV, computer, books, newspapers, culture etc. – are destroyed by the darkness. This is until a teenage girl reads Paul Eluard’s poem Liberté, causing the cloud to recede. The message of the film is clear – when freedom of expression is under threat, it is up to all of us to uphold our rights. Liberté was chosen because “we were looking for something that crystallised the entire message of the film. We wanted something powerful, something that could stand up against this invasive shape,” said Executive Creative Director, Babak Hosseiny.
The movie was directed by Jaco Van Dormael (BE). Aside from his multiple-award winning film, Mr. Nobody (2009) starring Jared Leto and Diane Kruger, Jaco is also known for other award winning films: Le Huitième Jour (The Eighth Day, 1996) and Toto Le Héros (1991).“The black rain I see arriving everywhere in Europe. In a sense, that’s what inspired me,” he said. “I said to myself it’s important to do something about it, not to keep quiet.
”The Shape is part of the European Commission’s EUandME campaign, which aims to demonstrate to young people, aged 18-35, the full extents of rights and benefits that they enjoy as EU citizens in their day-to-day lives. Although they may understand what the EU stands for, there has been a lack of knowledge of the tangible benefits it offers. Within the campaign, 7 films – including the 2 just announced – are being produced by prominent European filmmakers to initiate a dialogue with young people about the ways that the EU supports them and enables them to pursue their passions.These passions range from the right to start a business, the ability to order products online from anywhere in the EU, the means to live and work in any EU Member State, or simply the entitlement to basic fundamental rights.The #EUandME campaign was launched in May 2018 and features short films by prominent European directors, open-air events, stories of young, empowered EU citizens and a competition for young film directors (for which five winners have been announced), as well as many events and activities organised by campaign partners.