Short Films Roundup: Fantasia Film Festival
Here is a roundup review of the five short films we watched at the Fantasia Film Festival:
Born of Sin | Director: William Boodell
The opening scene of Born of Sin has a drinking father and his daughter sitting in a car, perhaps for a kid day out. The mother, who is away for work, calls and asks the man if he can really take care of her. The two have a passively aggressive exchange, which we don’t really listen to but can figure out. The Subject seems to be, the daughter. The mother doesn’t trust this man as a responsible father and his actions do not prove her wrong either. I have to say that this opening scene reminded me of a brilliant Indian Film, Ugly, directed by Anurag Kashyap. Not that the film follows the same path afterward, but it sure began on a similar note. The things that happen next in ‘Born of Sin’ is a series of unfortunate events, including a bizarre satanic ritual that results in an almost comedic twist, which unleashes the hypocrisy of those who practice it, or maybe it doesn’t.
Man in the Moon | Director: Monique Mulcahy
Man in the Moon is about a woman, an ignored mother of a teenage son, who suspects that the sounds coming from her pocket radio have something to do with his son and everything he has been doing in his little gaming room. Using a camouflage of Science Fiction, with a teenager trying to establish contact with the moon, ‘Man in the moon’ is a film about mothers and sons, about the inescapable truth that sons are bound to grow apart from their mothers as they grow up. There is plenty of symbolism in Man in the Moon, which worked as an efficient storytelling device. It has a great cinematography with an extensive use of blue to captures the essence of a science fiction. Man in the Moon has a beautiful ending, which brings a hopeful smile on your face.
Undress Me | Director: Amelia Moses
Amelia Moses’ Undress Me has a spooky opening shot of a grimly silent college campus with an eerie background score. It’s a convenient opening for a horror film, which grabs your attention right away. We see a Girl, enter a college party full of strange faces to her, but who is, even more, a stranger is she herself. She befriends a guy at the party and the two end up having sex, what follows is a metaphorical representation of the girl losing her existence. The girl’s alienated body language reminded me of Scarlett Johansson from Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin’. There was also a shot which seemed to be inspired by ‘No Country for old men’ but amidst all the inspiration it draws, Undress me is an original story and explore themes of oppression and sexuality using appropriate metaphors.
Waste | Director: Justine Raczkiewicz
Waste is an interesting take on cannibalism. Human beings are sentient meats. But unlike pork or beef, consuming human meat is illegal. After death, human body turns into a decaying waste. But why waste the flesh of dead when you can eat it? What if human body is packed and preserved? The film argues that cannibalism can help reducing waste by transforming it into the food. In this weird little film, a hygiene-freak factory worker is invited for the supper by a chef who cooks tongue and toes. Waste is as weird as it is shocking. It shows an ideal world where nothing goes to waste. Human being has always been meat the same way pig has always been pork. Every animal is raised to become food. The film has some stomach churning scenes involving human organs, dismembered tongue, human carcass marked for cut and human meat wrapped in plastic. In one of the most shocking scene, a woman eats her own toe. It may also evoke compassion towards animal by putting humans in their place. Waste changes our perception of what can and cannot be food.
The Sleepers | Director: Joe Lueben
A girl with all the comfort of life, wandering through a snow covered forest; another girl running away from her past; an old lady with no hope after a great loss in life; and a girl searching for truth, voluntarily decide to dedicate their lives for an experiment where they spend days in drug-induced dream state. But why would they choose to drug-induced dream for days in stead of fighting their way out in the world forms the crux of “The Sleepers.” We get to see these four women are interviewed during their conscious state on why they choose to be “sleepers.” The back stories don’t reveal enough to substantiate their choices but it gives enough meat to ponder on why sometimes it is necessary just to sit and think on things that give a certain meaning to your existence. Director and Co-writer Joe Lueben “The Sleepers” is a great effort that flirts with the existential philosophy and pushes us to think about our choices in life.