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October 20, 2016

Aesthetica Short Film Festival – Day 3

by Zahir

acheleComedy

A Lovely Treat

Mitch Yapko (Long Legs Productions) USA, 2012

The basic problem with this film is that it only has one joke, and that joke isn’t even particularly funny. All comedy in the film evolves from the fact that the male character is a little bit short. I could forgive this film for not being funny, if there was anything else of merit. But there’s not – featuring a standard female rom-com voiceover, uninteresting dialogue and poorly handled transitions between scenes, there’s really nothing to recommend this film.

The Painter and the Thief

Jack Lawrence (University of York) UK, 2013

While slightly awkward acting and some sound recording issues marred my enjoyment of this piece, The Painter and the Thief is a competently produced fusion of the caper and romance genres, with a good helping of comedy thrown in there. While its cuteness becomes predictable at times, the dialogue was well written enough to maintain my investment in the characters throughout.

Liars

Oscar Nobi (Independent) UK, 2012

Out of all the films screened at “Comedy – 4” this one got the most laughs. A succinct, witty script, some genuinely thought provoking observations about everyday life, and even one moment of creative camera work, this was a six minute wonder compared to the rather mediocre offerings that came before it.

La Page Blanche

Yohann Sfez (7e ACT) France, 2012

While the acting, filming and general production values of La Page Blanche were a cut above the rest, its gimmicky plot was rather disappointing. Moments of humour were regular and welcome, but unfortunately this film aimed for a clever plot with dashes of comedy, and missed the mark with the plot.

The Plotters

Thomas Guerrier (Indeptendent) UK, 2012

At only two minutes long, there is not really much more to this film than the single joke. That said, the joke is presented well enough that it was a two minutes that I would happily give up again.

Our Name is Michael Morgan

Maurice Caldera (Quiddity Films) UK, 2012

Raising far more questions than it answers, the initial response to this film was a universally baffled one. However, it is funny, poignant, excellently filmed and makes some subtle points about the commodification of 21st Century lifestyles that stuck with me long after the film had finished. An excellent piece.

Animation

Ed

Gabriel Garcia (Hype.cg) Brazil, 2013

With a combination of photorealistic animation and cartoony CGI rabbits, Ed spends much of its time firmly lodged in the uncanny valley. The film feels more like an exercise in animation than a feature in and of itself. While it must be commended for its execution, Ed fails to hit particularly hard, most obviously in the film’s final twist, which gives the unnerving impression that the film makers thought it was considerably cleverer than it actually is.

Darkness

Benjael Halfmaderholz (Hylas Film) Germany, 2013

A brief clip of animation which could serve very well as part of a larger story, the four minute run time does at least showcase  the creator’s talent for excellent aesthetic design and un-scripted storytelling. Short, sweet, and something I would like to see more of.

Tempest in a Bedroom

Laurence Arcadias / Juliette Marchand (Amorce Films / JPL Films) France, 2011

An oft-overlooked quality of animation is its ability to portray scenes that censorship boards will not permit, or that actors might be uncomfortable performing in. Never is this clearer than in Temest in a Bedroom, which contained one of the most extended sex scenes I’ve ever seen. With some deeply uncanny animation (animated faces, live action lips) and bizarrely surreal comedy, Tempest in a Bedroom is entertaining for its weirdness alone. Factor in some interesting exploration of sexual repression and you have a winning combination

Ctrl

Matt Waruszynski (Sizzle Studios) UK, 2012

Clocking in at a minimal 1m 46s, there’s little more to this than the very basic jokey premise. However, the joke is not a bad one, and the animation is nicely stylized, making this an enjoyable, albeit inconsequential minute and a half.

The Nether Regions

Maria Lee (WONKY films) UK, 2012

While Brian Blessed is fantastic as Satan, and his dialogue is perfectly crafted for both the character and actor, it feels suspiciously like this was written as a radio script and then adapted verbatim for animation – the visual aspect of it adds barely anything. However, it only runs on for about three minutes so it feels unfair to be too critical.

Drama

Achele

Clara Kraft Isono (London Film School) UK, 2012

A harrowingly sad tale of the separation of two sisters, Achele is a tragically pessimistic study of childish impotence in the face of society. The filming is gorgeous, although one feels that it must be hard to make an ugly film when the shooting location is amid the Himalayan villages.  Shot in semi documentary format, much of the beauty of this film lies in its adherence to reality.

The Fire

Artem Volchkov (VGIK) Russia, 2013

A finely crafted tragic drama, most masterful in its creation of a persistent sense of impending doom. Revolving around a struggling father/son relationship, the dialogue never strays into cliché, which is especially admirable given the ease with which this kind of relationship drama attracts it. Depressing yet simultaneously uplifting, if you’re craving an emotional punch in the gut, this is the film for you.

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