Shorts That Are Not Pants is a quarterly film series that started in 2012. But this year they’re organizing a two day festival with six programs. This is the first of many pieces about such programs, and the theme here is going the distance. These shorts deal with a society that doesn’t feel like some of its members fully belong there. But worry not, none of these movies have a hostile tone.
Sebastien Petretti’s State of Emergency, Motherfucker! is genuinely funny in depicting two North African male teenagers, Samy (Ilias Benalouane) and Mehdi (Yassine Fadel). They talk about a sexual encounter while white passing Belgian policemen drag them to a local station. They then beat up these teenagers up for no reason. This is the kind of short film I would like. Petretti even uses his sets to drive a point home. There’s a picture of the Belgian Royal couple in the background. They stoically watch over these two young adolescents and the policemen. The system is numb, preferring light conversations over important ones.
Giovanni Piernageli’s Short Distance subverts the stereotypes audiences have against stern sport coaches. One of them, Zdislaw (Cezary Lukaszewicz) needs help from the only person who can save his track and field team. That’s his younger brother Szymon (Mateusz Wiecklawek), who is in juvenile hall but gets this one day pass out. A shopping trip in the middle of track practice shows a love between them. It also shows the manipulative dynamics within that fraternal love. Lukaszewicz, who appears in Loving Vincent, is all body and soul here. He also allows Wiecklawek to perform his share of a script that has its twists.
Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels’ This Magnificent Cake has a similar switcheroo. It’s also a TIFF selection and another Belgian entry. There’s no cake, but instead we get five men living in what I assume is the old Belgian Congo. Three of them white and two of them black. And they navigate colonialism as they suffer their own version of mental illness. A stop motion animation short using thick fabric which seems appropriate, it’s touching at its most surreal moments. This is another Belgian entry in this festival, its centerpiece segment about a businessman. He’s van Molle (Wim Willaert), who enters a romance with a snail.
Brent Foster’s Enough, The Empowered Women of Korogocho brings us down to earth despite its subjects fighting an unusual situation. It’s beautiful to see this documentary short show Betarice Nyariara. She’s a resident of the titular Nairobi slum, walking those streets at dusk with her head up high. She has confidence despite her extremely dire circumstances. She would have otherwise not been able be outside because of her age. And because younger men rape and murder older women there. But she and other local seniors have ways of resisting. Foster depicts that physical collective resistance with unprecedented vibrancy.
Shetu Modi’s The Pits is about Shruvi (Noor Dhanda). She rediscovers her heritage through another South Asian person who lives in her building. That seems like a tall order but it shows how the smallest conversations have a seismic effect on people. It also shows the microaggressions that Westernized people inflict on those who are more in touch with non-Western culture. Dhruvi is the inadvertent giver of that microaggression, but thankfully that doesn’t offend her neighbor. There’s also a warmth in the cinematography here, showing a lot of effort. It elevating this, proving all the haters who think less of short film.
Shorts That Are Not Pants Shorts starts out with a bang with Programme 1. I hope that this is indicative of the rest of the fest. Programme 1 plays on November 23rd at Cinecyle. For more tickets and showtimes go to https://shortsnotpants2018.eventive.org/welcome.
- Release Date: 11/23/2018