Shorts That Are Not Pants 2020: Our Review of ‘Block 5: Mothers and Fathers’

Posted in Festival Coverage, What's Streaming? by - November 20, 2020

Films have a way of opening up perspectives on multiple things, like what it’s like to be a parent or a child. Shorts Not Pants’ sixth block is a mixed bag about mothers, fathers, and children.

The first film is Postpartum, an animation version of a woman’s ode to her child. The style here is minimalistic yet it provides a fresh perspective on a mother’s emotions.

The festival then selects Mathieu Grimard’s Goodbye Golovin about, well, the titular character, Ian Golovin (Oleksandr Rudynskyy). And he deals with his father’s death by saying goodbye to the rest of the family. The Ukrainian output in this festival has been very colorful so far and this is no exception. The visuals here contradict Ian’s bleak outlook. The character motivation here feels lacking if not uniform to other angst-y films.

The next film that the festival brings is Felt Love, about a boy who wants his seamstress mother to read to him. The film draws human characters living within what looks like a non-animation space. The mix of styles makes for an adorable whole.

The next short is Azadeh Moussavi’s The Visit, which gives an impressionistic approach to this story. It eventually reveals the motivations of a mother (Mahin Sadri). Here, she makes herself and her daughter goes all out while preparing to visit their family’s father. It also adds the reality of political prisoners in Iran, the textures of that prison making this the best of the block.

Ganef is next, which shows Sophie McShera playing another maid, this time around to a German Jewish refugee and her daughter. It validates the psychology of the Jewish family but to the expense of McShera’s character. It also feels incomplete.

Carlos Felipe Montoya’s The Size of Things is about a shapeshifting chair. Other directors in this fest have lost themselves to the specifics of explaining their premises. But Montoya grounds his short’s weird elements by reminding us of the story’s father and son characters. Their struggles make the chair’s presence all the more mysterious.

From Iran, the fest takes us back to Canada with a local short, Green Grass. This shows a girl and her grandfather in a desert. They use a balloon to communicate within a community behind a wall. The use of color in this animation adds to a story with a twist that’s actually surprising.

The fest then takes us to Koreatown in Los Angeles. Jane Hae Kim’s Waves depicts, among many things, a woman (Kim) and her dissociation from her family. Kim shoots actors playing her family by cutting off parts of their face. Her point is understandable here but it still feels obtuse.

Sonia Bertolli’s La Playita is some short. There’s an observational approach here, as it depicts people and animals enjoying a beach day. Its central character is a girl who wants to buy a water gun from a vendor. It’s too bad that the film indulges on its distractions. And that it treads on the same themes that other Argentine films have covered during the past two or three decades.

The last short takes us back over to Iran. Kaveh Mazaheri’s Funfair¬†taps into something universal by depicting his country’s sociological problems. His short has a child who wants to go to a funfair. However, his father (Sourush Saeidi) is teaching him how to push his mother in front of cars. It’s the right amount of bleak. Critics, amateur or professional, have expressed their feelings about the ending. But I didn’t see it coming and neither might most of you.

For asses and tickets go to

  • Release Date: 11/14/2020
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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