There are a lot of digital films and festivals year round that are vying for viewers’ attention, and I’ve been reviewing a fest that has films that deserve attention. Today I chose to watch the Black block at this year’s Shorts Not Pants fest. Every film has conflict, but these short films do their best to put a spin on a necessary cinematic element.
Things never go as characters plan them in films, but that wayside trajectory is interesting to watch in Maryam Khodabakhsh’s World Cup, as Bahram (Ali Tabe Emam) and his wife lose their nephew in a house that isn’t the most secure. What complicates this is that they live in Iran and this ‘missing child’ is ruining their plans to leave. There’s a bit of downtime in this short but it tackles its subjects bravely.
A short which is the for most part worth watching is Henning Backhaus’ The Best Orchestra in the World, where the titular orchestra is holding auditions for a double bassist and the one with the best mind to interpret the music is Ingbert Socke (Beckhaus) – a sock. The metaphor is obvious here but there are obvious decisions that drive that metaphor in. Like the fact that all of the judges are conspicuously male. My favourite of the block, despite myself.
Another short ticket holders should watch is Tatiana Doroshenko’s Amissa Anima, mostly using black and white videography to depict the stories of four young Australian who starts out as schoolboys and have antisocial phases that lead them to the hands of child molesters (including Jim Daly). I’ve only heard of this case through podcasts and as respectful as those are, short films like this do their subjects more justice. Out of respect for the children back in the 80s and now, the film did not give the characters or the actors playing them names. This makes the short more haunting.
Short films make its viewers pay attention to subjects, sometimes in a comedic way. The Little Death shows a chain of events that lead to the kidnapping of a French Canadian man, who ends up in the basement of a bar. Shallow note, but the main actor here wears what’s arguably the best shirt in short film history. The momentum here slows down after the standoff between that protagonist and his kidnappers but it’s still funny.
Another short film that is for the most part worthy of attention is Natko Stipanicev’s Arka, a 3D/ clay animation film that doesn’t have any dialogue. I was almost close to thinking that no dialogue animation shorts aren’t for me. That’s until this one showed the insufferable people on a cruise ship. Thankfully, they’re my kind of insufferable. Goals. Those people are also oblivious to a dog that notices a puddle, and are indifferent when that puddle gets bigger. Makes for decent satire.
All the world’s a stage. That’s an adage that Marcelo Mattina literally uses in Apostasy, Or Untitled Film #1. Here, Dante (Bruno Soares) copes with his father’s funeral. That’s by trying to convince his friend that the wake is just a work of fiction. The parlour is a set with empty drawers and the mourners are just extras. Or maybe’s he’s onto something. Close ups attempt to capture Dante’s interiority but it doesn’t go anywhere beyond that interesting jump off point.
There’s aspects of animation without dialogue that I now know that I dislike until I start liking those kind of shorts again. One such short is Claude Cloutier’s Bad Seeds. Here, two plants have a less than friendly rivalry as their flowers take on different species like storks and frogs. The aesthetic is very vintage New Yorker and the sound design also keeps viewers’ attention. The last films in the blocks have been good and this is no exception.
Order tickets to Shorts Not Pants here.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, fantasy, Short
- Release Date: 11/22/2021
- Directed by: Maryam Khodabakhsh, Tatiana Doroshenko
- Starring: Ali Tabe Emam, Henning Backhaus, Jim Daly
- Produced by: Ali Tabe Emam, Katrina Mathers
- Written by: David Markin, Maryam Khodabakhsh
- Studio: Kreativni sindikat, No Company