Sunday, September 11, 2011

DC Shorts

Humane Resources

Jessica Townsend

UK 2010

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.

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