Film Review: HANGING, USA, Animation

Played at the March 2017 ANIMATION Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERHANGING, 6min, USA, Animation
Directed by Nick LeDonne

An abstracted animated documentary based off of Nick LeDonne’s personal struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts after a near attempted hanging in November 2014. His feelings of depression are personified through a dark luring fog and a loving mother desperately trying to keep her son alive.

Review by Kierston Drier:

Hanging a USA animation directed by Nick LeDonne, is a deeply emotional, deeply powerful piece that takes a raw and honest look at the seriousness of the depression in the mind of a misunderstood boy longing for comfort.

Told through a voiceless abstract lense, our character battles the onslaught of words and labels- symbologies for the troubling thoughts that plague his mind- and must choose between the relief of death or the trauma of continuing to live. The personification of a mind of suffering may be a difficult viewing experience for some- but for many it will be an eye opening and important film.

There are very few films that so clearly capture the sense of entrapment and suffocation of mental illness. The visual style personifies the depth of despair- something that is perhaps difficult to understand if never experienced first hand.

While Hanging has a darkness to it, it also has unspeakable bravery- a clear and heart wrenching look at the battle one men wages between his inner demons and the sanity of his mind and soul. A difficult film to distill, because it is such a powerful film to witness.

 

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Film Review: PUMPKIN, 15min., USA, Romance/Drama

Played at the February 2017 ROMANCE Film Festival

PUMPKIN, 15min., USA, Romance/Drama
Directed by Paula Neves

Alice’s best friend, Dan, lives in another country. When he gives her the bad news about his disease, Alice faces the scary feeling of being away, distant and powerless. And she tries, the best way she can think of, to show him support and love. Even if that means pushing away those people that are physically close to her.

Review by Kierston Drier

 his fifteen minute film from the US directed by Paula Neves is a piece to break your heart while it heals your soul. Pumpkin is a story about teenage photographer Alice and her long distance relationship with Dan, a charming and sweet boy from across the sea. Despite romantic interested right in front of her face, Alice only has eyes for Dan and he reciprocates her passion. Yet something is holding him back- that something is a terminal illness. Love knows no bounds it would seem, an Alice is unable to see the subtle hints that her love for Daniel may be ill-fated.

Some things are worth risking everything for, and Alice decides that, in order to see Daniel, she will give up the prom in her own high school, and the money in her new camera fund, to fly to see Daniel. The morning of the flight however, she gets a devastating call from Daniel’s’ mother.

Love makes us do crazy things. This is one of those stories that shows the drive of compassion from all angles. Daniel doesn’t leave Alice completely high and dry, his last ditch effort to contact her will reach her in the end. Alices’ best friend back home, won’t let her mourn Dan forever. From every angle love prevails, even when all seems lost.

Pumpkin has some notes in common with The Fault In Our Stars and with good reason- they are both stories that remind us how crazy love can make us, and the things we are willing to do to see it through. Pumpkin reminds us that a life cut short is still worth filling with love. The lives left behind are equally worthy of being loved.

 

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Film Review: FOUR DAY WEEKEND, 20min, USA, Romance/Drama

Played at the February 2017 ROMANCE Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERFOUR DAY WEEKEND, 20min, USA, Romance/Drama
Directed by Nicole Jones

A middle-aged couple, married for twenty-three years, takes a four-day break from each other and the aftermath leaves their relationship shaken and tested but not broken.

Review by Kierston Drier

 Rich and deeply compelling, Four Day Weekend an American film from director Nicole Jones, is one woman’s recount of her journey through her 23 year marriage to her husband, through the lense of a four day weekend where they both have permission to seek extra-marital dalliances.

She, having been sexually adventurous in her youth, proposes the nourishes the idea in an attempt to give her husband a chance to explore his adventurous side. He, on the other hand, grapples with his feelings about this newly offered freedom.

This is a film that hits that magical sweet spot in the short film world- hitting every note perfectly. Emotionally compelling, heartbreaking honest, charmingly funny, expertly acted and brilliant composed, this piece still manages to be greater than the sum of its’ parts. Perhaps this is because, not only is it a well made film, but it tackles a unique subject matter with both sensitivity and sincerity.

Many love stories, address young love, or old and enduring love. Four Day Weekend tackles love right in the middle- a mature and well developed marriage of equals facing all the nerve-wracking insecurity that comes with trying anything new for the first time. Yet, despite the subject matter of infidelity, this is a piece that really does centre around love. The love of these two people in their marriage is unmistakingly clear. The lengths they are willing to go to make each other happy is a true testament to that.

A strong and powerfully made film, Four Day Weekend will engage you mentally, emotionally and philosophically, while still reminding you that love will always know no bounds. Bravo Nicole Jones, Bravo.

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