Last night I attended a screening of the Sundance film festival shorts organised by Mind Pirates in their cozy projector room.
It was an interesting experience. There were to be two screenings due to the popularity created by the Facebook event. A screening at 7pm and a second screening at 9.15 which I went to. After standing outside in the cold for about half an hour we were finally let inside. We paid a 3 Euro admission and took a seat on one of the available benches. As more and more people trickled in, the floor in front of us was taken over by bodies laying and sitting down wherever they found space. There were about 10 shorts that I saw and among them of course some stand outs and some weaklings.
The shorts began with a French film about an American woman who gate crashes a teenage party and systematically begins to steal various things from the house, eventually changing into a dress from the hosts room and walking out of the party. She is stopped on her way out by the 18 year old birthday girl and ends up having sex with her. The film ends with both female leads being thrown into the swimming pool by the other party guests. The loot of the American woman scatters on the bottom of the pool to the disappointed eyes of the teenager.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to take away from this short. It was certainly trying to explore themes such as age, sexuality and racial divides but it just failed to deliver anything futher than scraping the surface. I was left feeling like I had just watched an introduction to a very mediocre new French teen romcom.
The second film was an animated short 17 minutes long entitled ‘Oh Willy’ by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels. Belgian filmmaker Emma De Swaef has recently garnered attention for her latest use of unusual techniques and distinctive narrative. In ‘Oh Willy’ Emma used wool and textiles to create one of the most characteristic, styles I’ve ever seen. The bizarre little story followed the animated character Willy as he returned to a naturalist camp eventually getting himself lost in the wilderness before being saved by a motherly, hairy creature. The animation and narrative of this short was particularly memorable in its disturbing content backlit against incredible mastery of props and set creation. Check it out if you can.
The other film I disliked was entitled ‘Post modem’, a conceptual view at the way humans use various mediums of technology. The short opened with a series of young children discussing the subject of mortality and very matter of factly stating that they will die one day. The film went from a music video all about the digital age, to a couple of girls embedding chips into their foreheads, to an infomercial. A strange sequence with a woman shedding her clothes on the beach before jetting out of the sea and then a clip which felt like it had been pulled out of ‘The holy mountain’ – A film that I would never voluntarily watch again. While I appreciated the nature of the jumpy, short clips and their allusion to the generation of short attention spans caught entirely in the world of mobile phones, social networks and online shopping, the entire film felt a little forced.
It was a good night and the same venue are hosting an Oscar nominated short films night next week.
As for now, my friend is visiting from London this weekend and I have tomorrow off to be a tourist with her. I’m looking forward to it.