Monday, September 15, 2008
Dir. Mikki Willis
5 min USA
Sometimes I find my favorite films are the ones with a very simple storyline and as few characters as possible. Recently I have seen, on accident, a number of films that take place with two characters in a single room or general location. It is true that I am normally hesitant when I come across a film like this, thinking I will get bored quickly or it will be dumb. (And I did feel that way about some I saw this weekend). However, Mikki Willis’ film, The List, was different.
A short film of five minutes in length, The List, takes place in a warehouse in the middle of who knows where. The outside world is irrelevant in this film. There are only two characters, which makes sense in a 5min movie in a warehouse. Although, the two character one location thing worked out very nicely in Steve Buscemi’s Interview (2007). Back to the topic. The List was visually interesting and kept my attention. It left unanswered questions and really didn’t tell you a whole lot. Except that this guy, played by Robert Machemer, who is supposed to be an “agent” of some sorts, wants a list from a girl name Lauren, Paris Tanaka (also writer and producer). And then they fight. And then its over.
It really was a small portion of a feature length espionage film. Even if it could be attached to a feature film, in its own way it stood its ground as a short film. When it was over I was still trying to figure out who the good guy was and who was the bad guy. And I liked that aspect of it. I don’t think all films, short or long, need to have an ending wrapped in a box with a bow tie on top. I like open-ended films because they allow the imagination to fill in the gaps. That is why I enjoyed this film. Also, it was visually pleasing to watch. I was happy to see the amount of shots they got in a five minute piece without it becoming too jumbled. And at the same time taking a moment to make sure every shot was the best it could be. No matter how short the film it should be visually pleasing (or at least interesting). The cinematography was one of the best I had seen at DC Shorts.
**PS I just looked at the awards after writing this, and The List won best cinematography. Go figure.