Movie Review: A SPACE GOD APPEARS (USA, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

A SPACE GOD APPEARS, 10min, USA, Experimental
Directed by Grayson ConverseCareening through the universe, pistols blazing, neutron drive pulsing, Spooky Mansion and Tino Drima spread their Space Rock. Follow these bands in this short film about Space, God, Hope and Music. One of the most important stories ever told.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

This unique and original work unlike many films- experimental or not- it showcases two different real-life bands facing off musically within the confines of a larger-the-life short film. In the depths of space Spooky Mansion and Tino Drima are on two rival space ships- about to board and fight one another.

Laced with vintage pop-culture references and famous sci-fi callbacks to well loved shows, A SPACE GOD APPEARS lovingly satirized science fiction classics while revitalizing the tropes. Our rival bands compose their film with a colleague of cultural icons including visual references to various 1980’s music and media.

The film may be read as over-the-top by some viewers, but what is admirable about A SPACE GOD APPEARS is its bravery and unflinching choice to own it’s genre. Perhaps most unique, and authentic about this cinematic piece is its originality. The two bands that act as rivals on their space voyage are real life musical bands that have played together in real life.

A fresh twist on media favorites, and revitalizing way to reclaim the classics, A SPACE GOD APPEARS is a adventure for your cinematic sense and a true joy to watch.

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Movie Review: DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN (UK, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

Directed by Michelle Bailey

A young girl girl searches for a safe haven in an urban landscape and finds solace in her own creative expression.

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Terrifyingly authentic and yet beautifully abstract, DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN follows a young woman fleeing the endless cycle of her abusive partnership. She flees down a street while a cycle of his verbal abuse replays over and over in her head.

Once she reaches a rooftop overlooking a deadly drop to the street below, she defies the expectation by bursting into a passionate and emotionally charged dance piece.

Sharp, dramatic, cathartic and intense, DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN is a piece about finding your own freedom. Our heroine is an exceptional dancer and cinematic performer, and our story, though simply, is nevertheless incredibly emotive and effective.

A piece worth watching if you are a fan of dance cinema, an appreciator of strong dramatic pieces or a lover a fine cinema, you will find something to enjoy in this work. It’s movement will surely move you.

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Movie Review: REQUEMBARREN (Spain, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

REQUEMBARREN, 16min, Spain, Experimental
Directed by Roman Rubert Bernat 

Beatrice is a young woman who leaves home to look for Requembarren. After listening to the sad man, to the profaner, and to the incestuous man, she reflects on what happens to her on the journey.

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This short, highly metaphorical experimental piece, coming to use from Spain and directed by Roman Rubert Bernat, follows the story of a young woman, given a map by her parents and sent out in the world. The world, however, is dangerous, horrifying and wildly unpredictable. Our heroine, much like any on an epic quest, battles feat after feat, meeting stranger after stranger in increasingly periciliary circumstances.

Shot in black and white with keen attention to detail and style, this is a piece with truly admirable cinematic qualities. Thickly laced with fairy tale elements REQUEMBARREN asks its’ audience to examine its meaning from multiple angles; it may be a piece about the passage between life and death, or the link between heaven and hell, or between fairy reality and fantasy.

Regardless of the meaning intended by the creator, there is something lush and gorgeous behind this work of art- with special acknowledgment going to the various rich locations of shooting and the filters used to give brightness to the piece. A worthy watch indeed.

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Movie Review: STRANGE BEASTS (UK, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

STRANGE BEASTS, 5min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Magali Barbe

‘Strange Beasts’ is an augmented reality game. It allows you to create and grow your own ‘pet’. How far can it go?

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A bright, authentic and chillingly vibrant piece of speculative fiction, STRANGE BEASTS follows a software and game developer on his new groundbreaking game. One where you create and care for a digital pet. The catch? The game exists in a device embedded in your eye.

Our hero is loveable, bright, energetic and trusting. The game looks authentic, dazzling and instantly addictive. As a film the colors, graphics and visuals are flawless. The film is a master of attention to detail.

But what sets this film apart is its believability, and its gut wrenching twist. Without spoiling this remarkable ending- this film hits frighteningly close to home.

With this only a five-minutes-in-the-future kind of science fiction, the audience is hit with the sudden realization that this type of technology already exists, and the we are not watching a film about what could be, but what will be.

STRANGE BEASTS will haunt you, with its disarmingly charming approach to the future, and send a chill up your spine when it ends.

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Movie Review: 65.5 WOMEN (Norway, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

65.5 WOMEN, 6min, Norway, Experimental
Directed by Liv Mari Mortensen

To understand a recent failure, a young man writes a statistic of all the women he ever slept with. As he tries to simplify all of his affairs into simple characteristics the memories start to take over, leaving him to face the only one he truly wanted.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Dramatic, collaborative and unbarred, 65.5 WOMEN is the story of one man recounting his sexual exploits to the woman he might bed next. But his descriptions of his conquests are not told from his voice- but from the women he speaks of. Subtle and often humorous, 65.5 WOMEN has an unmistakable charm in it, and an interesting dissection of genre and sexual politics.

Our narrator is never seen, in fact, other than his opening lines and closing lines he is rarely even heard. The focus, instead, is on the statistically way he recounts his sexual partners- the actual lines said by those very women while they break the fourth wall in a nonchalant and unassuming way. It is open for dense discussion as to who has the power in this piece- our male hero, the woman the hero is speaking to, or the women he is recounting.

Perhaps the depth in this piece comes from its subversion of gender power. The man, who is recounting his conquests with an almost unemotional air, has his very voice removed. The piece follows the women, and the descriptive factors that define them (“This one had a drug problem…this one had red hair.”) are said instead by the women who own the descriptors. The woman take agency, by using their own voices, and owning their descriptions.

A piece worthy of discussion on an academic level, but no less enjoyable to anyone simply looking for an introspective short film, 65.5 WOMEN is a deep and intellectual piece that packs an emotional punch.

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Movie Review: ICARO (Brazil, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

ICARO, 11min, Brazil, Experimental
Directed by Carla Jay Shah Laroche

Based on the Greek tragedy, Icaro is a Brazilian modern adaptation of the iconic struggle; a man who seeks liberation from an environment in which he feels caged and powerless. Where myths tell us that our fate is determined by a greater force than our own, Icaro is a poetic film which illustrates how our fate is also determined by choice. Icaro must reach his own decisions on how his profession as an elevator operator will ultimately affect him, a profession which is still widely in use in Brazil. The film touches multiple aspects of Brazil’s complex society.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

An experimental Brazilian short following one man’s journey into the sky, ICARO is a reimagined work of art inspired by the tales of Icarus, who flew to close to the sun. ICARO, our hero, is a highly intelligent man working as a lift operator, when he is transported into a world where he has no socially structured limits.

We may be looking through his day dream or his minds’ eye, but our hero is transported to an empty warehouse where his story, dream, struggle, his breaking free of social stagnation is able to be expressed through dance.

His is covered in paint (or possibly wax) and is able to act out his dreams of reaching far beyond the shackles of the modern world.

Ircaro is exquisitely shot, beautifully performed and exceptionally well composed. Balanced and perfectly cast, this is a work of experimental art that will have any film-goer looking to watch again. Well done, Carla Jay Shah Laroche, very well done.

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Movie Review: HOPE (Iceland, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

HOPE, 4min, Iceland, Experimental
Directed by Knutur Haukstein Olafsson

The apocalypse is coming. A lonely and bitter nun seeks for help to let go of her past and finally be free. The lights go out. The lights are turned on. And suddenly there is a change.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

 HOPE is a four minute Icelandic experimental, heavy with religious symbology and musicality. It boasts an apocalyptic setting with a young nun faced with the prospect of eating a live head on a plate.

On a purely experience-only basis, this film is ripe with colors, dramatic imagery and memorably catchy music. Symbolically it is full of elaborate layers to be peeled back one by one.

Our young religious hero bitterly seeks some sort of solace for the end of the world and finds it in a singing head presented to her, yet the work ends with her defrocking and leaving the church in a bright red dress. She may be embodying the death and renewal of religion, or the passage of childhood to adulthood, or a bloody and metaphorical look at the ending of a romantic tryst.

We may never know, or the goal may be for us to form our own opinions. You’ll have to watch HOPE to find out.

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