Short Film of the Day (Watch): 01, 7min., Germany, Experimental/Animation

01, 7min., Germany, Experimental/Animation
Directed by Julian Friedrich, Katharina Potratz

Sergam is a little boy. A refugee. His boat’s stranded on the coast. His mother didn’t survive. Instead, a young woman takes care of him and they both set off on their way through a nightmare.

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Film Review: THE ARK (France)

Played at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival

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A rhino is walking into the ruins of a cathedral under a heavy rain.

 

Review by Kierston Drier

A two minute animation directed by Jean-Baptiste Aziere, The Ark is a powerful, riveting and emotionally provocative piece. Highly symbolic and deeply moving, it follows a Rhino slowly making its’ way to a dilapidated Christian altar where it bows with it’s final breath, then falls to its’ knees. It gives us no answers, asks us no riddles- it is simply a sharp, dramatic piece that will take your breath away.

You may argue that this is a piece about religion, or a piece about spirituality and the animal kingdom, or that it is about environmentalism, you may even argue it has no deeper meaning that what is visually there. But it cannot be denied- this is a film so hauntingly beautiful and so visually rich that once it begins, it demands your attention. Perhaps that is the most symbolic and meaningful part of the entire piece. In a world run by humanity, where things that not human are often ignored in favor of the things that are, there is not a single person in this film. Yet our hero bows like a praying human being, and dies soon after. You cannot help but be moved at the sight, interpret what you will.

THE ARK is a brave cinematic piece. Short, stunning and impactful, this is a piece that carries itself with beauty and deep meaning.


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Film Review: FAREWELL (Switzerland)

Played at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival

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What happens if you want to say goodbye to a loved one but this suddenly no longer find ? The short film “Farewell” tells how want to accompany a group of friends with different characters their deceased friend and brother on a last trip and so much goes wrong.

In bizarre and comical way this short satire will pull you in its spell – and what, if such a thing happened once to me?

Review by Kierston Drier

When we love something, we let it go. Right? It is certainly something we have all been taught. But when you have your buddy’s urn with his ashes in it, you might want to keep it where you know you can find it- just in case. But for five friends charged with the task of caring for their dead friend’s ashes, things don’t go so smoothly.

Enter FAREWELL, a comedy with a curious mixture of strange happenings and humor styles. The dialogue is punchy, the action is raucous and outlandish and the tone is similar to Analyze That with it’s back to back escalation of unbelievable stakes.

Our heroes lose their friend while out to dinner before delivering him to have his ashes scattered. Where they find him? Well they need to backtrack through their steps, stopping at the restaurant, tracking down the waitresses, going through the kitchen and…well things only get more complicated from there.

Boasting some hilarious twists and turns and some great recurring humor, every character in the piece is bright, sharp and full of life. A great piece about learning not to take life too seriously.

Film Review: QUESTIONS (2017)

Played at the January 2017 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERQUESTIONS, 6min, USA, Fan Fiction/Action
Directed by Zack Russell Bartlett

Based on “Question” DC Comics. Two faceless vigilantes search for answers as they take on a dangerous criminal.

Review by Kierston Drier

QUESTIONS is a unique fan-fiction, as it is based on a DC comic that has yet to be turned into a movie. This allows a considerable amount of directorial freedom, while still providing a rich world on which to draw from to establish characters, setting and tone. Thick with Noir elements, director Zack Russell Bartlett brings us a hard-boiled detective with a quick wit, and his tough female accomplish within a vigilante crime case. The unique element here? Our detective and his partner have no faces. At least, faces with no discernible eyes, noses or mouths.

A fascinating opening to a crime-fighting duo. A faceless hero gives a sense of the unknowable to our heroes. Philosophically speaking, this can be considered an asset, as many DC comics’ heroes have an unknowable or other-worldly quality. From a cinematic view, a special nod must be given to both the director and the actors, for being able to so clearly indicate their emotional motives without the ability to show facial expressions. Even with this hinderance, our characters’ feelings and struggles are clear.

An interesting piece with action, comedy and clarity, QUESTIONS will make you want to read to comics, and want to see these characters on the big screen.

 
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Film Review: PROVERBIAL LUCK (Austria) Comedy

Played at the November 2016 Best of Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

  MOVIE POSTERPROVERBIAL LUCK, 5min, Austria, Romance/Comedy
Directed by Dave Lojek

Idioms garnish our language, but are often hard to translate. This comedy helps to illustrate them and tells the story of two neighbours, who become enamoured. The “foam-beater” (boaster) Hanspeter throws an eye after an addleheaded Annemarie, but she just “shows him the bird” (indicates that he is chuckoo). So he has to “jump over his shadow” (take the plunge) and get a foot in her door. Amusement for all proverb fans who love to make whoopee, gaze into the pale blue yonder, or get to the point.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

This five minute Austrian comedy has a bright, light, whimsical feel,  much like the well-loved French film Amelie. Full of colour, innocence and delight, PROVERBIAL LUCK tells an offbeat love story littered with the follies of language.

 

Taking a literal spin on pun, idioms and other figures-of-speech, the audience gets the feeling that our unlikely lovers are trapped in a world they never made- one where our casual turns of phrase have literal meanings.

 

Had this film not has superb subtitling (Hats off to the human being who expertly translated comparable figures of speech for the English-speaking audience) this film could have been much more confusing- although no less enjoyable.

 

PROVERBIAL LUCK is a wacky little gem of a comedy, that has mastery at making us laugh at the unfortunate characters while also laughing at ourselves.

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Film Review: MIDNIGHT WALK (Australia) Thriller

Played at the November 2016 Best of Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

MIDNIGHT WALK, 4min., Australia, Thriller
Directed by Mathilde Nocquet

Midnight, hidden by sunglasses and a badass vinyl disguise, a mysterious brunette is looking for her victim. Plunged into darkness, a car park is the stage of her next murder.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

A highly stylized, hyper-glam look at fashion at any cost, MIDNIGHT WALK is genre-splicing experiments in theatrics. Part comedy, part thriller, part How-To video, our hero, the gorgeous, fashion savvy Midnight, armored in outfit that could be found on any high-end sensationalized fashion-art show prowls and underground garage, following an unsuspecting victim.

 

Despite large look-at-me visuals, this film has a simple and unstated backdrop, no doubt to accentuate the dramatic and fantastical heroine.

 

MIDNIGHT WALK has some exceptional scenographic and visual design. It’s genre is completely unto itself, being an exceptionally unique piece with a utterly intoxicating and original voice, it straddles several cinematic areas.

 

The twist at the end- the goal our murderous fashionesta has for stalking her victim is worth every minute of this bright escape-ist cinematic romp.

 

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Film Review: DEADLY VIEW (Ireland) Mystery Thriller

Played at the November 2016 Best of Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

  MOVIE POSTERDEADLY VIEW, 3min., Ireland, Thriller/Mystery
Directed by Malcolm Willis

Just before dawn, a dark suspicious man drives to a desolate location where he carries a large black bag containing an unknown object, together with a spade, from the boot.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

DEADLY VIEW will trap you instantly with its’ dark, ominous pathetic fallacy. Set against ominous clouds, a mysterious brooding hero drives high up into a secluded mountain. Once at the top of a high peak he pulls something large and bulky out of his trunk- something covered in a thick black garbage bag. Worried? Me too. The beautiful Irish landscape, from which our film comes from, carries some specific weight in this piece, as our hero takes out tools and begins to dig, clank and hack his way in the earth.

 

So the surprise at the end of this punchy three minute piece is truly delightful, when the man finishes his work and takes a seat in the mountain top at his new, recently installed swivel chair. He spins on the mountains, utterly free, with the joy of a child at Christmas. The world he belongs to instantly brightens.

 

A special nod must be made to the beauty of the landscape and to the well chosen actor who can play both dark and sinister, and joyfully child-like. Also the smooth execution of a the classic bait-and-switch which issues delight from any audience. This lovely, humor-fixed short definitely speaks to anyone familiar with the Irish landscape- certainly a view to die for.

 

 

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Film Review: HORSE PARADE (Puerto Rico)

Played at the November 2016 Best of Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

  MOVIE POSTERHORSE PARADE, 1min., Puerto Rico, Romance/Experimental
Directed by Otavio Pacheco

In a chess game the black horse and the white queen fall in love, and then the white horse starts a dispute for her love.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

HORSE PARADE is a delightful stop-action experimental romance with a twist. It shows a chessboard where the White Queen and Black Horse have fallen in love in a sort of musical, a-typical dance.

 

Full of rich symbology, HORSE PARADE shows two characters that throw aside the rules of regulations of their universe and step beyond the bounds of their reality, to join each other in dance. Their dance soon entrances the other chess pieces, who cease their game to stand on the sides of the board to watch them. Shades and piece mingle, lines are crossed and sides are discredited, all for the sake of the dance between the Horse and the Queen.

 

This could be a piece about love without boundaries, as the Queen and Horse have a variety of obstacles- they are from opposing sides, they are of different values (Queen being greater than Horse in value), they have different roles within the society which is their world. This story, totally wordlessly and with only music and motion, shows how love can end the fighting. A beautiful metaphor for anyone watching.

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Film Review: NO WOMAN (Afghanistan) Experimental/Drama

Played at the November 2016 Best of Short Documentary FEEDBACK Film Festival.

  MOVIE POSTERNO WOMAN, 3min., Afghanistan, Experimental/Drama
Directed by Yama Rauf

There is a world beyond our world, when it comes to a decision, there is always a big NO to WOMEN. in this case majority suffers from it but only few women take the risk and fights for it.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

Simple, short and thought provoking, NO WOMAN comes to us from Afghanistan, as a dramatic and experimental piece with no easy answers. A study in the power of symbology, NO WOMAN shows a small girl walking forward in the desert as a masked gunman stands near. A shot is fired and the mask is pulled away but what lies beneath it, and to some extent the fate of the girl are unknown and left up to interpretation.

 

Beyond its thought-provoking imagery and genre-defying, NO WOMAN has the unique power of being able to represent many things to many different people. It is equally valid to interpret this film as a story of a Afghan girl made victim by a masked adult, as it is to interpret as a philosophical stance of women’s’ rights’ on a global level. The final image shows our heroine walking onward away from the masked obstacle- whether it is her in real life, a dream, or as a spirit, we do not ever explicitly know.

 

In a time where human rights’ and world issues are ever on our doorstep, where global and political are thrust into public focus, NO WOMAN stands as a subtle but powerful visual story. It could be about generations clashing, differences in religion, cultures or politics colliding, hopefulness and fear standing at odds, or gender issues in a powerful face-off. All are equally possible, and all equally effective- take a look to decide for yourself.

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Film Review: A COUPLE (France) Relationship

Played at the November 2016 Best of Under 5 minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

  MOVIE POSTERA COUPLE, 4min., France, Relationship
Directed by David Steiner

Three minutes in the life of a couple.

Project Title (Original Language):UN COUPLE

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

A disagreement is very a common thing in a relationship- the factors around it are often layered in subtext and personal context, but nevertheless, most of us have been there. Enter A Couple, a short hailing from France, which unwraps the complexity of a couple’s’ disagreement with delicacy and honesty.

 

The dialogue is spectacularly honest and real; the acting excellent. A convincing and upfront look into one moment of the tens of thousands that make up a romantic relationship. Stylishly shot in black and white and boasting an ending open to discussion, the beauty of this film is how incredibly believable it is. One might think the actresses in the film are a couple in real life- a testament to the astute attention paid to all aspects of the characters’ relationship.

 

A film that invites us to take a deeper look at ourselves and our assumptions about romantic relationships, A Couple, is a film not to miss.

 

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