Film Review: LUNCH (UK) Experimental/Music Video

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

  MOVIE POSTERLUNCH, 2min, UK, Experimental/Music Video
Directed by Matthew Fletcher

From the dawn of Homo Sapiens we’ve been eating it, and we will continue to eat it… until it’s redundant. Take a journey through space-time and be aware of the 3D spatially dynamic soundtrack.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

This vivid, fast-paced glance at our relationship with food, is all at once social and economic commentary and a delightful visual romp at the very bread of life. The beauty of this piece, is its incredible visual simplicity- as it revolves around a plate and the various dishes that people (and animals) eat. From extravagant to simple, healthy to horrible, the dishes, and the lives attached to them are distilled in just a few seconds.

 

And yet, this film, like a chameleon, is able to be almost anything to the viewer wants it to be. It is a political and economic nod to the distribution of our resources, it is social and philosophical commentary of humanity’s’ relationship with nourishment. It has an effortless depth in its’ simple approach, but it is nevertheless a meaningful and impactful piece.

 

LUNCH has a wonderful composition: quick, impactful and effective it is not without unexpected comedy. It is fantastic piece of emotional and captivating cinema. Regardless of the impression it leaves you with- it will certainly make you hungry!

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Film Review: THE KUSBEGI (Mongolia) Documentary

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

THE KUSBEGI, 2min, Mongolia, Documentary
Directed by Johnny Cullen

A short film about Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Western Mongolia.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

Kusbegi comes to us from Mongolia, boasting beautiful riveting imagery and opulent cinematography. A sample short for what could easy be a feature, Kusbegi tells a visual tale of the Mongolian Eagle hunters. The cinematography is utterly spell binding and the keen attention to visual details leaves the viewers’ wanting more.

 

Kusbegi merely wets the palate of what must be a rich, deep and complex culture of the Mongolian people. Their relationship with animals, tamed and untamed, is a remarkable alliance worthy of observation. Creating a deep and sensuous feel to the intimacy of a lone hunter in the pursuit of the necessary catch. The thrill, the patience, the focus- are all beautifully translated in this radiant visual masterpiece.

 

While Kusbegi as a short film seems to lend itself to a larger, more fleshed-out feature film, the short is no less enjoyable. Subtle, bright and flawlessly cinegraphic, Kusbegi is a film to capture your heart.

 

 

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Film Review: NO SIGNAL (Spain) Experimental Documentary

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

  MOVIE POSTERNO SIGNAL, 1min., Spain, Documentary
Directed by Alaa Chnana

From all the acts of the present, the one can affect the past as well as the future is the war.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

No Signal  a riveting, stylized look at the crisis of war in Syria, is a study in interpretation. It it s a film that highlights the very raw, very gritty ravages of war against, and the highlight reel of pain engraved upon the memories of the people it affects.

 

The open, expressionless faces of Syrian refugees of young, old, large and small are superimposed on lightning-fast intercuts of media images of war and destruction. The effect of this stylized work is powerful and thought-provoking, begging the audience to question if we are looking at a human beings’ memories, or if we are looking at the war through the media that is used to describe their lives.

 

Ultimately, No Signal expresses the idea that we are really only ever scratching the surface of what is affected by war and political conflict. So often the rapid fire images we are bombarded with through the media dehumanize the suffering faced by real people every day.

No Signal brings us back to this humanity, by showing us these media images against the backdrop of human beings we do not know- yet we certainly recognize.

Technically speaking, the editing of No Signal must be highly commended. The sheer volume of media images that are used are superbly intercut and seamlessly tailored together. No Signal has a simple approach to storytelling that is effective and powerful, and for that, it is a film worth seeing.

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Film Review: TIME (Hong Kong) Documentary

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

  MOVIE POSTERTIME, 3min., Hong Kong, Docuementary
Directed by Tak Chun Patrick Cheung

In 1951 the Hong Kong clock tower was built in the district of Tsim Sha Tsui. After all this time overlooking the Victoria Harbour for 100 years, no one has realised until now that a mysterious power from the clock will change the course of time.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

Time is a three-minute visual masterpiece, a stunning flurry of life, light and impeccable sound that follows one full day and night in the busy metropolis of Hong Kong. Following the image of the Iconic Hong Kong Clock Tower, TIME takes us through the cities, the roads, the boardwalks, the citysquares, the ferries wheels and the billboards of a city that never slows down.

 

Compellingly shot, flawlessly composed and brilliantly dynamic in every angle and dimension, TIME will leave you undeniably spellbound. The music entices you, the visual unity is engaging and the spectacle engulfs you in another world.

 

What is perhaps most compelling about TIME, from a cinematic and philosophical point of view, is how much modern Hong Kong mirrors any other high-profile metropolis. New York, Bejing, Paris, San Francisco, Toronto, Rome- could equally rival the brilliant days and vibrant nightlife. In this way TIME does something magical- it shows you a different world that is remarkably relatable. It takes you to another place, and still manages to make you think of home. A gripping, visually engaging, brilliant piece of cinema that takes us around the world and back again while never having to leave our seat.

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Film Review: GAYROUTH (France/Lebanon) Documentary

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

GAYROUTH 31min., France/Lebanon, Documentary
Directed by Charbel Raad

To be gay in Beirut, one of the most open minded capitals in the Middle East, which is sinking in the era of repressions, is not as easy as it looks. This documentary tells an exceptional and an uncommon story of two lives.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

Sharp, poignant, heartbreaking and unexpectedly funny, Gayruth follows the raw, gritty stories to two homosexual men and their separate lives while living Lebanon, where homosexuality is still widely frowned upon. Hiding their lifestyles and identities from their families (and to some degree the film crew) it reminds us what a very grave risk our subjects take exposing themselves to film.

 

Gayrouth takes a journey through the uneasy realities of a homosexual lifestyle in Beirut, focusing on the struggles to carve out peace for ones’ self in a sea of disapproval from both the personal and public spectrum. Gayrouth must be commended on all the areas it covers in the short time it has to make its’ statements. It touches on the disconnect and even breakdown of family ties for those who are hiding their sexuality.  It explores the ostracisation of one from their community. Most tragically, it showcases the personal story of one man’s emotional and psychological breakdown after his isolation turns him to a life a anonymous sex, and his struggle to pull himself out of the abusive cycle.  

 

And yet, lingering in all these deep, intense and heavy emotional moments- are islands of laughter, beats of humor, images of happiness- the moments when one of our heros’ is with his partner. We see, through the closed doors of a life lived hidden away- the love that makes the sacrifice.

 

Gayrouth is an emotionally hard-hitting film, which takes a real look at the struggles and risks of what it means to be “out” in an unwelcoming place. However it also shows hope and happiness. It shows love that preserves. It shows lives worthy of loving without fear. For these reason, watch Gayrouth.

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Film Review: THE NINTH OVEN (Mexico). Documentary

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

  MOVIE POSTERTHE NINTH OVEN, 10min., Mexico, Documentary
Directed by Erika Oregel

A boy of 14 years is living his last years childhood before having 15 years; years in which is legal to work in Mexico. He has been working illegaly since 9 years old to work and get a living with his grandmother.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

The Ninth Oven, a short, stunning piece hailing from Mexico, follows a young boy and his journey through the illegal work he does to help support his family. Our hero, a spirited teenager, has juggled school, studying and working as a brick maker since the age of nine. Illegal though it is to be employed so young, our protagonists approaches his situation with admirable maturity.

The Ninth Oven has an unassuming charm about it. It’s approach to the realities of life in the rural area are looked at through the eyes of our young male lead. As such, the larger political and economic issues connected to child labour are subtle- a microscopic view of a larger social issue. Through the lense of the hero nothing seems abnormal. His bright and effervescent optimism is a constant source of pride to his family and loved ones. His dedication to his family, his work and his future easily tug the heartstrings of any audience. The Ninth Oven takes a look at child labor from the perspective of the laborer who does not see their work as a cross to bear- but a challenge they must rise to. It is impossible not to like our hero, as he explains he does not desire a life of wealth or affluence- he only wants to have enough to be happy. A nobel and astute goal for someone so young.

 

Brightly shot, The Ninth Oven is a beautifully woven story that makes us imagine what it is like to live in other parts of the world and that adulthood is rarely a matter of chronological age.

 

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Movie Review: DARKNESS FALLS (2016)

  MOVIE POSTERDARKNESS FALLS, 15min, Sweden, Sci-Fi/Thriller
Directed by Jarno Vinsencius

Melissa suffers from amnesia. When she slowly regains her memory, the world isn’t what it supposed to be. Darkness Falls is the winner of best Sci-Fi Picture award at OutlantaCon Short Film Festival 2016 and nominated for best Sci-Fi picture at SCI-ON! Film Festival 2016. Darkness Falls is also the winner of Best Cinematography at Roswell Film Festival 2016.

Shown at the September 2016 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival

Movie Review by Kierston Drier

 
Darkness Fall, a Swedish film directed by Jarno Vinsencius is the compelling tale of Melissa, a woman with amnesia who wakes up in a forest with no idea who she is. She regains her memory with the help of an in-the-know male counterpart who sends her an anonymous letter offering aid. Our heroic duo is seemingly always on the run from some ominous enemy, as they frequently seem to be narrowly escaping capture or confinement by one or another figure.

There is some excellent camera work in Darkness Falls, some strong cinematography and clear visuals. The tone of the piece feels a little loose, however, with the film never reaching a nail-biting level of fear or tension. Some viewers may feel the film’s twist coming, however, the performances are strong and the films steady pace keeps interest, even if all the questions are never fully answered.

There is an eerie element to Darkness Falls. And that element plus its ultimate reveal nestle the piece firmly in the category of science fiction. A film any sci-fi lover would like to sink their teeth into Darkness Falls.

 

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Movie Review: 20:15 (2016)

  MOVIE POSTER20:15, 12min., Canada, Sci-Fi/Thriller
Directed by Marc-Andre Morissette

20:15 is a drama-mystery, sci-fi thriller in which we follow the lives of a mysterious man and a loving couple. Their lives will forever be changed once their two worlds collide.

Shown at the September 2016 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival

Movie Review by Kierston Drier

 20:15 from Canadian director Marc-Andre Morisette is a dramatic and impassioned piece played out with almost no dialogue. A stylistic choice that nevertheless heightens the tension of the story. After the horrific loss of his partner by an unknown gunman, our hero becomes obsessed on a machine, hell bent on using his present to somehow fix his past.

Full of graceful shots, excellent camera work and beautiful muted tones, this piece is poetically beautiful to watch. The story is engaging and the twist is satisfying, with a thought provoking ending that is sure to be a conversation starter.

Morisette’s choice to limit the diegetic sound in his piece gives this film a distinctive avant-garde tone. It changes the cinematic experience for the audience. A more traditional film may create the feeling that you are immersed in a real-life story, perhaps not even aware that you are watching a film at all, and instead standing invisible observing the lives of the characters.

20:15’s stylized choices give the distinct feeling that you are watching a piece of Art, where the stylistic choices are equal to the plot of the piece itself. Morisette’s movie has a mysterious tone, with notes of Film Noir. It is a film that feels like it provides cultural capitol as well as entertainment.

Lovely devices tie the story together and thoughtfully composed music and sound composition elevate the piece to a more refined level. A film that may not be everyones’ preference, but certainly an enjoyable watch.

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Movie Review: THE LAST JOURNEY OF THE ENIGMATIC PAUL WR (2016)

  MOVIE POSTERTHE LAST JOURNEY OF THE ENIGMATIC PAUL WR, 17min, France, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Directed by Romain Quirot

The red moon threatens our existence on earth. Our only hope is the enigmatic Paul WR, the most talented astronaut of its generation. But few hours before the start of the great mission, Paul disappears.

Shown at the September 2016 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival

Movie Review by Kierston Drier

 There is a big red moon that hangs in the sky at all times now, and it will kill us all if Paul WR, an astronaut with the power to read thoughts, does not fly into it and save human kind. That is the pretence of Romain Quirot’s The Last Journey of the Enigmatic Paul WR. This French film must be praised on several levels, one of which being its attention to iconographic detail.

The film is set in the future, with hover cars and hyper-real technology. And yet everything the film touches has a strong retro 1960’s iconography. The film has beautiful color and brightness, and visual splendor that gives a nod to Frances’ famous Amelie.

The story leaves much to be questioned, but still satisfies the viewer. In the end we are left to wonder what makes Paul WR choose the path he does. Curiously, a film about reading thoughts, begs the audience to compose their own about the ending.

It can be argued that The Last Journey of the Enigmatic Paul WR is an alternate dimension housing a different version of earth, because the world the characters live in is both resembling our own and yet exists completely outside of us and our timeline.

We do not have an ominously huge red moon threatening our destruction, nor retro 1960’s car that hover and fly. But this is the joy of classic science-fiction- that we can throw out our disbelief and settle into a world that is a fun-house mirror to our own. We long to fall into a story set in a universe close enough to out own to be relatable, yet far enough way that we do not have to be made uncomfortable by the threats being too plausible.

Enjoy this film, it’s a beautiful view, an introspective story of a flawed hero who is at odds with a world he never made.

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Movie Review: RED ROVER (2016)

  MOVIE POSTERRED ROVER, 15min, Australia/USA, Fantasy/Action
Directed by Brooke Goldfinch

Two teenagers from a remote religious community travel to town in search of shelter after being told by their Evangelical parents that an asteroid will soon destroy the earth.

Shown at the September 2016 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival

Movie Review by Kierston Drier

 A refreshingly different approach to an encroaching apocalypse film, Red Rover, an American film directed by Brooke Goldfinch, straddles the genres of science fiction, romance and drama. As the end of the world approaches, two teenagers escape their religious community to seek shelter and potential survival. The piece is founded in tragedy when the teens realize that they have nothing left to loose except each other.

Unlike many apocalypse films, this piece does not rely on heavy pandemonium- huge riots, teeming masses of terrified people, big explosions- instead it focuses on the last death throws of a society that has already accepted its’ end. The streets are vacant. The shops deserted. The last remains of society exist in debauchery inhabited abandoned hotel rooms. Red Rover’s focus on realism in this way may be disturbing to some, a refreshingly honest to others.

The theme of this film, however, will pull the heart strings of any romantic. As the world approaches its violent end our heroes must re-evaluate what it means to have lived and been alive. Is a life that is short, yet full of love, wonder and joy, any less lived? Red Rover seeks to ponder that question. To find the answer, you’ll have to watch it and see.

 

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