Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Directed by Chris Blaine and Ben Blaine
2011, 2 minutes
Source: DC Shorts Festival
The entire two minute scene of 0507 takes place in an engaged couple's apartment. They are watching TV when the woman realizes that the guy needed to e-mail the venue to book it for the specific weekend they want to get married. He assures her that he did remember. As she gets up to go to the bathroom he asks to check his e-mail on her iPhone (implying to the audience he forgot). There's only one problem: the iPhone's password (her birthday). The rest of the two minutes is him trying to remember her birthday, when she finally comes out to announce that it was yesterday. The light-bulb clicks, he exclaims "AHA!" and the film ends, leaving the audience in hysterics.
What I really appreciated about the film was that, in only two minutes, the film was able to get across what they intended to and do it with humor. The audience was able to relate to the film because most understand the stereotype of the extremely forgetful boyfriend. I chose to write about this because I thought it really exemplified the art of making a short film effectively.
The film is entertaining because I can relate to a boyfriend not remembering my birthday or anything else for that matter. I find that a movie is much more enjoyable when it connects with the audience. Not that dramas with a good message aren't enjoyable, but there is less suspension of disbelief when it comes to a film that you automatically empathize with.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Paul Hellin, 20 mins, Finland
It was obvious to me that this film was the one to write about when at its end, the audience was too confused and disgusted to applaud for a good 15 seconds. The film does a remarkable job of creating tension at an excruciatingly slow pace - tension that is supported by eerie murmuring background music, close up reaction shots, dark cinematography, slow movements in camera, and terse, ominous bits of dialogue that complicate rather than clarify.
The film begins when a young girl enters a tattoo shop late at night to find a very ornery, quietly smoking tattoo artist who is in turn suspicious, mean, taciturn, and mysterious. He agrees to tattoo the girl all across her back, and gives her a shot to help ease the pain. The shot eventually makes the girl fall asleep, and when she wakes up, she finds she's gotten something very different than what she asked for.
Though the premise of the film is relatively simple, the slow pace really lends the film a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat quality. A noticeable total silence descended over the crowd during the scene when the girl starts getting tattooed, and lasted for nearly ten tension-wracked minutes. It's impossible to determine if the tattoo artist is merely grumpy or dangerous.
The short “Interview Date” by Mike Lemcke is the tail of two meetings set up by two separate groups getting mixed up and having some hilarious effects. Simply put, the short follows the stories of a job interview and a online date coming together and getting mixed up. With one person from each appointment with a person from the other appointment hilarity ensues as both groups attempt to figure out what’s wrong. Without ruining the final plot twist, the ending wraps up the short with a funny scene that most people won’t see coming.
Overall this short was the best short in the showcase I viewed while at the D.C. Shorts Film Festival. While it was the first short, it left such a memorable impression that it was the short I wanted to write about. What set this short apart from most of the shorts that I saw was the way it ended and it’s hilarity. When it comes to how this short ended, it had a physical ending that left me satisfied while others in the show case such as “Sweetness & Art” left me wanting more. However “Interview Date” really set itself apart because it kept me interested throughout the entire short. While other shorts were great, some of them lost me very quickly or seemed to skip parts of a story. This doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few issues with the film such as spending too long in the apartment at the beginning however compared to everyone else it was by far the best. That’s why I was really happy to see that you got the DC Shorts 2011 Audience Honorable Mention and the 2010 DC Shorts Screen Play Competition. Congratulations on the awards and thanks for making such a great short film!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
SHE WAS THE ONE
Directed By The Rauch Brothers, USA, 2011, 2 minutes and 38 seconds.
"She Was the One," featured in the DC Short Film Festival, is a tragic animated cartoon about an engaged couple named Richie and Karen. Richie, in his own words, tells the story of how he fell in love with his fiance and lost her in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. He goes into the tender details of their engagement, explains how she changed his life, what he will remember about her and what he recalls of the horrible morning she died. The style of the animation provides a stark contrast against the somber content. Richie and Karen's depictions were much more like caricatures than true to life drawings. The short featured so many light-hearted images, such as Richie floating in the air with hearts in his eyes when he first sees Karen (much like how Scooby-Doo was drawn when he saw a dog treat).
In my opinion this film wasn't too technically or aesthetically impressive, but it does have a large impact on the audience. The film could not be topped in terms of pertinence. I saw the film at the Shorts festival on Thursday, September 8th, when the media rememberance coverage of the tragedy occuring on 9/11/01 had already begun to dominate the airwaves. It first premiered on YouTube and the StoryCorps website on September 6th. While the World Trade Center attacks happened ten years ago, in our nation's eyes, it is still very much a current event. Creating a less than three minute long short that takes on something of such significance, but still can engage and entice the audience, is an accomplishment.
In the last five days, the short has gotten 92,718 views on Youtube, not including the exposure it has gotten from the StoryCorps website and being featured on the PBS website. This film becomes significant when considering the context it has been released in. Comparing it to other shorts may not be as important as comparing it to the other pieces of art or programming dedicated to the World Trade Center tragedy. "She Was the One" felt simple and personal, sad and sweet. The illustration style was creative and had much more personality than other acts of remembrance. The use of segments of a real interview with Richie and his candidness about his experience makes the film's subject much more about their relationship than about 9/11. As opposed to trying the capture the sentiments of a national tragedy, this short does exactly what the form is good for, focus. With any national disaster, we have the tendency to get lost in scale. In the wave of 9/11 mainstream media coverage, which at times can generalize and bite off more than it can chew, this short is a refreshing take. I would recommend taking a look at the other shorts StoryCorps dedicates to the stories of 9/11 and even their other memoir style shorts.
The Royal Tenenbaums (Specifically, The Prologue), Wes Anderson, United States, 2001, 7 minutes.
The Prologue of Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums details the lives of the three Tenebaum children growing up with their mother, Etheline Tenenbaum, and handling the emotional neglect of their father, Royal Tenenbaum. Their parents separate, and the rest of the prologue is their slow alienation from Royal.
I chose to write about this snippet of The Royal Tenenbaums because it serves as a narrative on its own. While the rest of the film is just as enjoyable to watch, watching the prologue alone is just as fulfilling (if you like characters' futures to be open-ended, that is). Within the 7 minutes of film, the audience gets a great deal of detail about each of the children, and learns who they are.
The Prologue is entertaining simply because of the details in the screenplay. Each child's chronicle had its own anecdotes which allows the audience to experience each of the Tenenbaums' memories with Royal. In general I love Wes Anderson's style, and I think the short amount of film given to The Prologue explains the eighteen year span of childhood quite sufficiently.
I enjoyed this film because of all the ones in the set that I saw, it had the least narrative quality.I don't even think of it as a narrative, but more like a symbol (for lack of a better word). The way I saw it - this film is supposed to represent loading in the modern day and age; whether it be a song on itunes, or the screen of an illegal film on the internet. The frenetic cutting and imagery of this film show how absurd our impatience at waiting for something to load. If we were trying to load actual film, the point would be moot. Impatience would only hinder us and make us fumble the film, like we see the man in this film do.
I also think that this should be considered a work of art. Stripped of any meaning or interpretation, this film would be captivating to look at or experience. The rapid cutting is shocking and bizarre, the winding and unwinding of the film is mysterious, and all of the frames of the film mashed together don't even have to mean anything, nor should they.
The concept of a short films fest is an interesting idea in itself. As soon as the first film started, I found myself on a non-stop 90 minute roller coaster ride of emotions, as whimsical humorous shorts mixed with dark, dramatic shorts, and everything in between. The films of first time student directors were mixed in with the work of seasoned professionals. Foreign language docs were up next to animated shorts and longer form narratives and dramas. At one point in the Q & A afterwards, this confusion was seen first hand, as one unfortunate woman actually believed that one of the documentaries was a narrative film. And while the majority of the shorts varied from entertaining to watchable, one in particular stuck out not only for me, but seemingly for the entire audience: Humane Resources.
Set in the United Kingdom, the short one extremely brief scene where a man goes to a Human Resources consultant attempting to find a job. She asks him a series of questions attempting to determine where he’d best be suited to work, including if he’d be willing to complete tasks of “dubious legality.” He asks if he will get caught, to which she says no, but she informs him of all of the negative consequences of his actions. He appears unfazed, and when he asks what his job is going to be she finally replies: Investment Banker.
The strength of this short lies in its length, delivery, and writing. The robotic, yet attractive human resources consultant and the bumbling, yet endearingly narcissistic future investment banker act as foils, one seemingly cold and detached, one helplessly clueless and selfish. These two characters are perfectly written, and skillfully portrayed. The pacing of the scene, including the cuts and the line delivery is all quick, and helps to keep the mood going and keep audiences engaged. Ultimately it wasn’t much better than a glorified SNL Digital Short or a MAD TV sketch, but the points made about the evils of investment banking played well with an audience clearly jaded by the economic recession.
DC Shorts wasn’t the most impressive display of up-in-coming talent the film world has to offer. Most of the films were visually unspectacular, and a few bordered on amateur. However, the strength of the film group I saw was the writing, as displayed in Humane Resources, along with almost all of the other films in the bunch.