Canadian filmmaker Seth A. Smith has had a very busy 2021. Not only did he have a brand-new feature film at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival—the wonderful Tin Can—but he also has a short at TIFF 2021. Plus, he’s even a guest on the phenomenal ITS podcast (available wherever you find your podcasts). His impact!
Anyways, DUST BATH is fascinating; at once both deeply existential and singularly visual. I haven’t seen all of Smith’s filmography, so I cannot tell if this is something entirely brand new in terms of form, but I’m go out on a limb and say that it is. Words like “maverick” are routinely used to describe the Nova Scotian’s work for a reason.
DUST BATH is short, clocking in at a taught two minutes and eight seconds. Not a frame is wasted. Each features a mutating background reminiscent of autumnal colours, evoking animated works such as Over the Garden Wall and Watership Down. The film focuses on two chickens, who ponder the meaning of life and ultimately death, suggesting that we all ultimately end up being worm food (I’d make an elaborate “vore” joke here, but I’m trying to be semi-professional).
I’m usually hot and cold on most short films, but DUST BATH feels perfectly situated to a short program. It’s brief runtime means it never outstays its welcome, and I imagine that I will stick in the mind of all who see it as part of a festival program.