Let’s talk about this crass, grotesque, and quite brilliant little short film. Guarding the Infant (Gardiennage de l’enfer), as is the English translation of the French title, is an ode to bad parenting and wish fulfilment. Even if the dads out there consider themselves loving and responsible parents (I do, most of the time), who hasn’t had the thought of sending their whiny kid in a bucket set atop a pizza box, only for the pizza to be returned to the unwitting pizza delivery guy, because…you know…as our babysitter/father figure states: “I ordered a 4 cheese pizza, and this is clearly 3.” The French are always such good absurdists (Camus eat your heart out!).
For those not seeing the charm of this babysitter/bad dad who is doing a piss poor job at guarding his infant, this is not the film for you. But if you do enjoy a bit of satire by watching this gross, dishevelled loser taking care of what is clearly a doll (ostensibly a real child), a doll that pees, vomits, and poops that would make “Two Girls, One Cup” blush, then this often literal shit show is for you. For new parents, it’s the fun of knowing that getting pissed on is part of child-rearing, but the bit in the film where we see our inept infant guardian throwing his kid across the room is not part of child-rearing (but sometimes you wish it was!).
That’s the beauty of art and gore, is it not? Stephen King describes our healthy consumption of horror as feeding our inner alligators. I suppose content that clearly showcases bad parenting as satire and not actual infanticide is a healthy and cathartic release of our inner-bad parent, even when we know we’re doing the best we can.
Eric Dinsmore | Twitter: @dinsmorality