Saturday, 4 October 2014

Some Short Films for Your Enjoyment

In Ben's previous blog post he highlighted how difficult it is to juggle doing university work and writing high quality posts every week for you lucky readers to consume, so I thought I'd reiterate that a little bit before I reveal what today's post is going to be, because I know y'all are gonna groan whilst rolling your eyes. So, yeah, I agree, it's difficult trying to put a lot of work into university whilst simultaneously trying to put up a decent post on this blog once a week. That's about it actually. On with the post!

I'm cheating a little bit this week by combining university work and putting a post up - winning - by going through some short films that I think you should have a look at; how does this relate to my university work? Because my course is awesome and watching short films actually constitutes as work. I watched 'Avengers Assemble' last night which equalled as doing work. Well, watching that was work, but that's for another post. As per usual, I'll be linking to where you can view the respective films in their titles and this isn't presented in a top five structure, so surely it counts as something new and not at all another list article, right? Oh bugger off, lists are cool - and so are short films! No longer bound by conventional narrative that feature length films often adhere to, short films are left to their own devices and what beautiful devices they are.

kitchen sink, short film, horror, new zealand, surreal
Is that the same lady whose eye gets sliced open
in Un Chien Andalou?
I really, really don't want to tell you too much about this film because I watched this knowing absolutely nothing about it - I hadn't read any summaries or descriptions or anything, I was going in totally blind, which, in my opinion, is the best way to watch this particular film. Reminiscent of David Lynch (think along the lines of Eraserhead), it captures the story of a women enduring intense loneliness in fourteen minutes. Directed by Alison Maclean in 1989, it originates from New Zealand and was nominated for a Golden Palm (a.k.a Palm d'Or) which is the most prestigious award given during the Cannes Film Festival. Go forth and watch, I'll be here waiting.

SOFT, short film, bullies, violent
Something funny?
Have you finished watching Kitchen Sink? Excellent. Okay, so SOFT is a very different film indeed. SOFT was inspired by a real life event that writer/director Simon Ellis witnessed during his school days, when one of his classmates was beaten up as his father, the school bus driver, looked on. "I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of what it means to be a man. Certainly when a young person physically challenges an older person, what can you do? As a kid you expect your father to protect you and when that doesn’t happen that must be devastating." Ellis says. Hefty topic for fourteen minutes. SOFT was nominated for a BAFTA and has won awards at countless festivals including Sundance (International Jury Prize), Palm Springs, Toronto Worldwide, Brief Encounters (Best British Short), and Edinburgh Int. Film Festival. Not bad, eh? I think that visually, as well, it looks absolutely fantastic. It's clear that Ellis' had a very specific image in his head of what this film was going to look like, and hot diggity damn, did he achieve it. It also does a fantastic job of creating realistic, sympathetic and also detestable characters. So, what you waiting for? Go watch it.

room 8, prisoner, fantasy, competition, pandoras box
Although a super film, it is not
to be confused with Super 8.
Room 8 was born out of Bombay Sapphire: The Imagination Series, which was a competition to create a short based around the same source script. You can watch the other winning entries and download the template script for these films on the website that I've linked to.  Room 8 was the first film I watched out of this series, so it was only fitting for it to have a place within this list. Much like Kitchen Sink, I am hesitant to give too much away because I feel like in this case, the less you know the better. At its core it's about a prisoner who discovers much more than he bargained for. There, that's it! It won a BAFTA for the best British short film and it's a neat little mind fuck in six minutes, what's not to love?

stranded, island, song, cute, friendship
That's some real nice indie cover you got there.
Okay, so where the previous three films I've shown you so far have been fairly heavy or serious or mature or whatever in their own way, Stranded is the lighthearted break you've been waiting for. Riding purely on the off the charts chemistry from the two main men, and that's all it really needs. It warmed my heart and made me laugh, so I'm going to turn a blind eye to the complete lack of context the film offers the audience. And by complete lack of context, I mean the absolute zero amount. There is none. Yet it didn't dampen my enjoyment of the film, because I would be happy to listen to the two buddies stranded on their island talk forever and ever. It's also very pretty to look at, despite it's seeming bleakness. The song is pretty cute too. So go, watch that and cleanse your mind of the darker stuff you've just watched.

boot sale, relationship, break up, sad, funny, sweet
Literally no other pictures I could use. Soz.
Last but not least, I wanted to include this film to show that you don't need fancy equipment like thousand pound cameras or kickass sound equipment or dazzling lighting, nor do you need amazing special effects or an overly complex story. You can create a good short film with a simple plot and your old camcorder. Everyone starts somewhere. Now that's not to say that this is a bad or less superior film; it is quite the opposite.

Anyway, I'm exhausted, I'm going to go to sleep. Go, watch all these films, and please let me know in the comments some of your recommended favourite short films!

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