Anton Sheptooha, Australia, Benjamin De Bandt, Comedy, Drama, Fabio Gradassi, France, I Miss You, Impuissance, Italy, Mech: Human Trials, Mihalis Monemvasiotis, Nick L'Barrow, Patrick Kalyn, Red Wine, Reviews, Romance, Sci-fi, Thriller, Una di troppo
The short movie is an oft-neglected aspect of movie viewing these days, with fewer outlets available to the makers of short movies, and certainly little chance of their efforts being seen in our local multiplexes (the exceptions to these are the animated shorts made to accompany the likes of Pixar’s movies, the occasional cash-in from Disney such as Frozen Fever (2015), and Blue Sky’s Scrat movies. Otherwise it’s an internet platform such as Vimeo, YouTube (a particularly good place to find short movies, including the ones in this post), or brief exposure at a film festival. Even on DVD or Blu-ray, there’s a dearth of short movies on offer. In an attempt to bring some of the gems that are out there to a wider audience, here is the second in an ongoing series of posts that will focus on short movies. Who knows? You might find one that becomes a firm favourite – if you do, please let me know.
I Miss You (2014) / D: Anton Sheptooha, Nick L’Barrow / 7m
Cast: Alex Fitzalan, Steph Howe
Rating: 8/10 – A touching, heartfelt little movie that charts the course of a romance between an unnamed young man and woman in a succession of scenes that show the rise, and eventual collapse, of their relationship. All the while the young man narrates his feelings of loss at not having his girlfriend in his life anymore. Subtly and succinctly made, with a voiceover that convincingly displays sadness and regret (even if the character says he doesn’t have any regrets), this Aussie charmer is one of those rare shorts that you wish was just that little bit longer.
Una di troppo (2015) / D: Fabio Gradassi / 4m
aka One Too Many
Cast: Arianna Ceravone, Marco Stefano Speziali
Rating: 8/10 – It’s the morning after the night before and Marco is congratulating himself on yet another sexual conquest, a friend of his flatmate’s called Gianna. But there’s more to his apparent good fortune than he suspects, a fact that becomes all too clear when he asks to see Gianna again. A quickfire assault in the Italian battle of the sexes is handled with deft humour as Gradassi has fun with Marco’s pompous self-belief and Gianna’s no-nonsense intentions. The “twist” is perhaps a little too obvious but it’s handled with aplomb by the two stars, which makes Una di troppo a small but very delicious treat.
Impuissance (2015) / D: Cleaudya Deschamps, Ludovic Julia, Chloé Prendleloup, Júlia Tomàs Pagès, Benjamin De Bandt / 8m
Cast: Benjamin De Bandt, Sylvie Morizot
Rating: 7/10 – A young boy tries to cope with feelings of pain and despair in the wake of his mother’s unexpected death. If you search out short movies on the Internet then you’re bound to come across some that are the results of school projects, such as this moody, slightly eerie French endeavour, that features an impassive performance from De Bandt, and a visual approach that favours bleak, existential compositions spliced into the boy’s humdrum daily routine. It has a gradual effect on the viewer, but one question will probably remain uppermost in most viewer’s thoughts: where is the father in all this?
Mech: Human Trials (2014) / D: Patrick Kalyn / 6m
Cast: Steve Baran, Rowland Pidlubny, Douglas Chapman, Pete Gasbarro
Rating: 7/10 – Following an accident, a man retreats into the world of designer drugs, only to find their effect on him isn’t quite what he was expecting… and that he’s not alone. Along with school projects, there are an awful lot of short movies that are made to show what a movie maker can do, a) on a limited budget, b) with a lot of imagination, and c) as a calling card to the various studios out there. This sci-fi thriller, with its Terminator overtones, is high on moody shots of its star, and does well with its depiction of the drug’s physical effects, but also makes the mistake of repeating its one standout moment – and for a six-minute movie that’s not always a good thing.
Red Wine (2013) / D: Mihalis Monemvasiotis / 6m
Cast: Peter Greenall, Aggy Kukawka
Rating: 9/10 – Having cooked dinner and poured two glasses of red wine, a man waits for his wife to come home and join him. When she does, her being late leads to accusations of sexual impropriety, and an uncomfortable confrontation that speaks of domestic violence to come – or does it? With a bigger budget and a longer running time, it’s unlikely that Red Wine would work as well as it does. By keeping it tight and memorably disturbing, and even more so when the nature of the action becomes clear, Monemvasiotis manages to draw the viewer in and keep their attention fixed as events spiral seemingly out of control. Tense and hypnotic, Red Wine is one short that is astute enough to not “let off” its audience by providing a cosy ending.