Tuesday, September 11th 2012
After a rather disappointing Monday and even more sleep deprivation, expectations and motivation weren’t so high on that day. But when one has the chance to see 11 short films (+3 if one counts the Korean anthology), there have to be some value there somewhere.
As it turned out, there were quite some positive surprises, especially the last movie I didn’t expect anything at all from except for being a typical watered-down exorcist mainstream experience.
At this point I was also lucky to have my girlfriend visiting and joining me by watching two movies together and spending that awfully long and cold train connection way back home late at night til the early morning. Not to forget having some fries brought without asking was more than I could wish for (usually not much time for more than sandwiches and the occasional currywurst). Sometimes it’s not easy having a boyfriend spending all week long in the cinema and only being available temporarily…
So this blog entry goes especially out to her patience, understanding and love :). Dedicated to Anna who means the world to me ;).
Get Shorty (Short Films)
Quite a nice selection of short films, compared to the bad ones last year, here are some quick words on each individual piece without spoiling too much:
(New Zealand 2011, director: Richard Mans)
Beautiful computer animations, simple “story”, more like a tech demo.
(Australia 2011, director: Nash Edgerton)
Very dark humor and unexpected twists and ending, shockingly funny.
Believe The Dance
(Norway 2012, director: Thomas Berg)
Arthouse meets music video meets advertising aesthetics, a bit too long.
The Black Lake
(Switzerland/France 2011, director: Victor Jaquier, original title: Le Lac Noir)
The typical student film with moody atmosphere and a mess of a “story” which is too long.
(Poland 2010, director: Marek Skrobecki)
Original idea well executed visually plus a touching story.
The Furred Man
(UK 2011, director: Paul Williams)
A tad too long with not every joke working, and a bit predictable.
The Little Mermaid
(Canada 2011, director: Nicholas Humphries)
Another one of those arthouse-student-flicks with atmospheric setting, music, but drags too long and is pretty pointless.
(Argentina 2011, director: Juan Pablo Zaramella)
Extreme use of the stop-motion technique, but wonderful to watch with original ideas.
(Netherlands 2010, director: Jeroen Annokkee, original title: Suiker)
Sick and twisted, perfect comic-situation timing, dark humor at its best.
(Belgium 2012, director: Alberto Lopez)
If students learn from David Lynch, but don’t show any original ideas or have a unique voice…
Rating: 1/10 (for being a David-Lynch-fan)
Tune For Two
(Sweden 2011, director: Fredrik Gunnarson)
Simple but effective and hard to describe what makes it so memorable. Just watch it!
Overall rating: 8/10
(South Korea 2012, directors: Jee-woon Kim, Pil-Sung Yim, original title: Inryu Myeongmang Bogoseo)
Another entry of short films in the Fantasy Filmfest catalogue, this time from Korea, 3 disconnected stories with mixed results were shown:
The first episode is about a zombie infection which is caused by food poisoning.
Being part social criticism, satire and the typical undead scenario, it’s nothing particularly exciting or new, but is made quite well and entertains for a while, even if the characters aren’t that interesting and the story itself lacks some suspense. At least it offers some nice effects.
The second episode tells the story of a robot which is believed by monks to be the next Buddha.
Even with an interesting idea, the runtime is too long and it gets boring pretty fast. What Blade Runner did many years ago, this one tries again, hammering the message of artificial intelligence home to even the dumbest audience. A problem lots of Asian movies seem to face recently (not just animes): One can tell a story or convey a message in fewer words…
The last episode delivers a unique perspective of the end of the world connected to a snooker ball.
Without taking too much away from the surprise, this has to be one of the most original and fun ideas in short films, even though there is a problem with the runtime again, because there are quite a few scenes which are superflous. But in general, this one works wonders and saves the Korean anthology from mediocrity.
(USA 2012, director: Nicholas McCarthy)
A young woman digs into her past to find out how her mother died. As it turns out, it was not a natural death and something or someone is there to get her too.
Even if the summary sounds like so many other ghost stories and crime-thrillers, the execution is quite different and unique. An unsettling soundtrack, weird editing and some creepy scenes in the darkness make for an atmospheric chiller. Unfortunately it takes a bit too long for the audience to find out what is actually happening.
A slow-paced, at the end very suspenseful, but also sometimes undecided effort to try something new in the genre. Doesn’t succeed with everything (just looking at the alternative mainstream poster, not shown here, the cover seems like a mixture between The Frighteners and The Strangers), but is better than most other recent entries.
(USA 2012, director: Kern Saxton)
After spending some time in prison due to a robbery, one man is questioned by his former accomplices where the goods are hidden…the hard way.
A bit slow at the beginning, the story rather simplistic, there is still enough entertainment or violence to be found with the characters’ interactions, in some pretty gruesome torture scenes and (except for one or two) great acting performances. Especially Mark Hamill is barely recognizable in his role, deep-throat-Candyman-actor Tony Todd is quite convincing and intimidating. Only Danny Trejo could have been given a longer screen time…
Comparisons to Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs can be made, but these would do injustice to a rather rough diamond of crime entertainment with twists and turns which keep the audience guessing until the end.
(USA 2012, director: Ole Bornedal)
A young girl becomes quite attached to an antique box which inhabits something or someone very evil.
Exorcist movies are the rage these days and some succeed only partially (like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Last Exorcism or the Paranormal Activity series).
Bornedal (whose previous arthouse movies I didn’t really care for watching) does nothing new for the genre, but what he does is quite impressive. It achieves what so many fail to do: creating terror and some downright scary moments. Not only an amazing performance of the child actress, but also the sound design is perfect. Slowly building up to a horrifying (even if clichéed) finale, it does everything right and (for me) is even better than the original The Exorcist in that it offers memorable images and scenes which one would rather want to forget.
A powerful supernatural thriller/drama which has a rather misinterpreted PG-13-rating, compared to some other lacklustre exorcism-examples in mainstream cinema.