Sunday, July 15, 2007

Review: Sundance film fest short films

6 films in 93 minutes, all quite distinct from one another

The Tube with a Hat is a slow-moving study of the relationship between a father and son during their quest to get their old television fixed. Set in impoverished Romania, the colour of the countryside reflects the economic situation. Pragmatic approaches to otherwise impossible situations are neatly captured.

Death to the Tinman is hilarious. The witty script is mirrored in the abridging editing style. Beautiful in B&W and full of characters of pushed stereotypes, the story has ludicrous elements that fit perfectly with the humor. My personal favorite

Bitch follows a segment of the life of a community college girl with a bad attitude we can all sympathise with. Dedicated to ridding the world of its poser elements via beatdowns, she meets her perfect match, but of course this isn't a typical love story. Some really dark humorous moments.

Family Reunion shows a beautiful lesbian returning to the home country, torn as to how to tell her family about her sexual preference. Filled with characters viewers may recognise from their own visits home - the clueless but well intentioned mother, the rarely present father, the ipod-involved younger bro, the intimate-beyond-it-being-appropriate-anymore ex, and so on. Near panic at the end, but it diffuses nicely. There's a really wicked focus pull in there.

The Oates' Valour was my personal least-fave, it was offbeat enough that I couldn't always follow the plot, which tends to disturb me. Gormless suburbia with a nightmare alcoholic bully father leads to a brief stint in military school, enabling some comical Full Metal Jacket style backchat. Some beautiful shots and some downright ugly ones (notably the swimming pool), and a 5 part structure makes it unusual.

Motodrom was one of the most unusual shorts I've ever seen - all about motorbikes so the content was absolutely not my cup of tea. But the cinematography was the hands down winner from all the shorts. A time lapse sequence of a large wooden building, one plank at a time, was memorable, as was the point of view shot of a motorbike rider circumnavigating the interior of said building, at 90 degrees to the horizontal wall. If its a mens' sport, the cinema going man must be of a different breed because accolades were sparse and confusion ruled those that shared my theater.

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