Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

Archive for the ‘Short Film Renaissance Online’ Category

Mister Green (2010)

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Another installment of the FUTURESTATES TV anthology, this 15-minute film by Greg Pak (comic writer behind The Hulk) personifies climate change as it gives us a vision of a bleak future if we do nothing to reverse this change. Greg Pak poses a question for the audience: How quickly would we seek change if we had to survive the same way plants do? Pak uses scenes shot directly into bright sunlight and scenes focused specifically on the drinking of water to emphasize for the audience how important these things are – to us and to plants. The director sets the stage in an interview on the Live for Films blog:

He blew it and as far as he’s concerned everybody blew it because folks didn’t get out there and push the government hard enough. Nobody pushed hard enough, so he’s this jaded and almost self-hating guy as the story begins.

In contrast to Mason, the corporate suit character, is Gloria, a woman from his past that represents everything ethereal and natural. (Greg Pak’s official website includes an interview with the actress, Betty Gilpin.) Gloria helps the protagonist to “be the change” he’d like to see in the world – quite literally. The filmmakers ends the film with that infamous Ghandi quote, as well as an image of Gloria and many others soaking up necessary sunlight on the National Mall in front of the nation’s Capital, a symbol of American government. Definitely an interesting look at the future.

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Written by Alisa Hathaway

May 2, 2011 at 9:38 am

Fallout (2010)

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There’s a very long list of things that I like, but in the top 30 or so are anything post-apocalyptic, graphic novel-esque artwork, sappy romance, and neat soundtracks. Good thing Ben Rekhi’s Fallout includes ALL of those!

Fallout is part of Season 1 of the FUTURE STATES TV anthology, a collection of shorts online by various filmmakers all exploring the future of the United States. It’s filed under anthology films for obvious reasons, but I’m also including it with the Short Film Renaissance online because you can only stream this films online to view them.

It’s a small story in the face of a much larger one – nuclear fallout after a catastrophic blast is trumped for the audience by a much more personal story of Damien racing back into the radiation to save his baby mama, Rose. It’s a bit cliched story about a semi-slacker guy who doesn’t want to fully commit to the “love of his life” while she’s ready to give up on him completely. Obviously, a nuclear bomb will clear up all those nasty insecurities and now Damien has to find out if Rose is still alive, life-threatening radiation be damned. The film was shot in live action on a blue screen and the graphic black and white animation was then added to the scenes. The visual effect is pretty great, and fits the storyline perfectly as science fiction and dramatic graphic novels are finally starting to get their deserved recognition in our mass media consciousness. This film also works well in a short format, because I don’t think many audiences would be receptive to a feature-length film with this same kind of graphic novel inspiration. (Though the case of 2007’s Persepolis animated right from the images of the graphic novel proves me wrong.) Overall, I enjoyed this movie, as did other critics.

Written by Alisa Hathaway

May 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm

10 Minutes (2002)

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Ten Minutes by Ahmed Imamovic is a short film about the 1994 conflict in Sarajevo and just how significant ten minutes in a lifetime can be. Can you guess how long the running time is?

The film opens with a Japanese tourist in Rome, snapping pictures on his way to a 10-minute photo developer as quaint, jovial Italian music drowns out the sounds of fellow tourists and Europeans doing their daily activities. In a stark contrast, the film continues by showing us a Bosnian family in the next scene, in a dispute over their young son going to fetch water. In a scene that begs the question, “Is this the same Europe?” as the Italian scene that came before it, we follow the boy (sans cuts) through the war-torn streets of his neighborhood. He stops to kick a ball back to a neighborhood kid and pals around with soldiers in the trenches on his way to acquire the essential bread and water. The mise-en-scene is striking, with abandoned cars and small fires dotting the landscape, an overall look of dark, grey destruction. The idea of a child going to get water down the street and passing soldiers and snipers along the way is not what the average viewer calls to mind when they think of Europe.

The end of the film sees the boy headed back home as the battle starts up again, running as bullets fly and people scream. A neighbor we saw before, with no significance to his presence then, attempts to hold him back as he tries to get back into his now-destroyed home. He gets back into his home to find his family shot and killed, but that isn’t the scene the filmmakers chose to leave us with. The last scene finds us back in Italy with the tourist as he picks up his photographs and returns to his day’s plans of sightseeing, the ideas of war and death and destruction far from his mind. His ten minutes seem insignificant with what we know of the Bosnian boy’s simultaneous ten minutes. It serves to make the audience wonder, what’s going on in the world in the ten minutes it took watch the film? Or in the (less than) ten minutes it might have took you to read this blog?

Food for thought.

More analysis of 10 Minutes here.

Written by Alisa Hathaway

May 1, 2011 at 11:49 am

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