Sundance 2021: Our Review of Three Short Films

Sundance 2021: Our Review of Three Short Films

A celebration of an old god, a conversation between friends, an airplane. These are the situations viewers can see in three different short films. All are streaming from the online version of this year’s Sundance festival. It can be difficult to figure out what these shorts have in common. Two can make viewers remember situations either from the past two years. While one of them imagines what things were like centuries ago. These shorts also teach viewers things.

I’ve already seen Alisi Telengut’s short film The Fourfold at ImagiNATIVE last year. It uses both animation and narration to teacher viewers about the Mongolian pagan gods. It’s the best out of this crop, and this second viewing highlights how much it subverts traditional notions about Mongolia. Some associate the country with its peaceful vistas. But the textural animation moves from one god to another in ways that is both chaotic yet imaginative, evoking change.

Viewers can also expect the same chaotic energy in Sara Hirner and Rosemary Vasquez Brown’s GNT. Here, one friend taunts the other for not having thrush. This is very refreshing from a male perspective, which limits understanding of what thrush is. If I had to pick a least favorite it would be this one because of its animation style. But credit is due to the way it humorously depicts the female body and complicated friendships.

The last is Rikke Gregersen’s The Affected. It depicts the multiple perspectives of the crew (Alexander de Segner and Renate Reinsve) and passengers (including Dagny Backer Johnsen). They’re in an English/Norwegian airplane. They discover that the government is using that plane to deport a man back to Afghanistan. Everyone discovers this because of an activist’s (Andrea Berntzen) attempt to stop the process. The most interesting perspectives come from the crew who don’t know what to do. Depicting three people at a time works, making the short naturalistic.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch 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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