Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Limpiando Sapos (Chasing Rats)- Vera Shamo-Garcia
I feel I must speak about the film, “Limpiado Sapos” (Chasing Rats) because it intrigues the idea of the purpose for creating short films. I truly believe that shorts exist and should be appreciated outside the sphere of an avenue to creating features. This being said, Chasing Rats is an interesting blend of two possibilities: it exists wholly and satisfyingly as a short, as well as screaming potential for a feature length film.
The short tells the story of a young brother and sister who join the guerrilla movement in Columbia. Anita’s goal is to protect her younger brother. She is put to the test when her brother is told to kill a boy his own age. When it becomes clear that this boy is going to be shot, Anita steps in and kills for her brother.
Just under 14 minutes, the story progresses at somewhat the same speed as you would imagine a feature to progress. There is character build-up and a pretty step-by-step account of what is progressing in the story. We see Anita’s character harden while her little brother stays guarded. The final scene pits Anita against her brother. Does she kill him to save her family? What happens to everyone if she doesn’t kill him? Do they all die?
This is what the viewer is left with at the final scene. There is no wrap-up, no resolution. We are left at this tense, high moment. The nature of plugging this film into a showcase left much to be desired. The short that followed was a comedy, and I felt completely disconnected, and even angry at the next film, simply because it should not have followed such an intense emotional high. When I was wrapped up in the end of Chasing Rats, I was literally grabbing the chair in anticipation. Then to have the screen go black was a mixture of resentment and intrigue.
When the screening ended, I was talking with people about their favorite short of the day. Interestingly, the common theme was Chasing Rats because, as one man said in the lobby (while I gave him a disapproving look), “I could easily see it as a feature.” This gets back to my original argument that I felt compelled to blog about this particular film because of filmmaking purpose. While I agree that the short could have been layered and expanded upon to create a feature, I also think that it is interesting that you can whittle-down a story and have it be even more powerful then if everything was spelled out for you and conclusions put in front of you.