Gallery Shorts Block 6

Posted January 26, 2010 in
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 Gallery Shorts Block 6

 

The Constant

Director: Raúl Navarro

 The Constant is a very short short that nevertheless manages to provide a perfectly enjoyable story arc (at three minutes, this alone is fairly impressive). The film is full of halting romantic moments that range from quirky to squirming-in-your-chair awkward. The humor is light and well-timed by both the actors and editors. The nature of the characters and their scene leads the viewer to assume a few details about the outcome—all of which are dashed in favor of a surprise ending, which left me feeling giddy and very satisfied that my predictions had been wrong.

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Broken Records

Director: Steven Cohen

 Have you ever wondered what a sitcom might’ve looked like had The Party from Orwell’s 1984 been in charge of direction and production? Of course not. Neither had I, until Broken Records. Repetition is both a stylistic device and an overt plot element in Cohen’s film, as the characters within the sitcom slowly become aware of the scene’s repetition and of their inability to alter it. What’s impressive is the variety of emotions that begin to be felt by the viewer through each successive "take." A line that was hilariously kitschy on take one becomes tragic by the end, as masked characters on the sitcom’s periphery begin to exert their unspoken authority. Both the characters’ composure and the physical quality of the film begin to degrade rapidly until both repose and video quality collapse entirely.  

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Members of the Resistance

Director: Pegah Ghaemi

 From the opening shot in Members I felt fully immersed in scenes from a culture and place that felt entirely new to me. We’ve all seen Iran on TV, but I’ve never seen it like this. Our main character is an old farmer—"forest people," the townsfolk say—living outside a verdant rural township.  The market streets and game trails through which he walks on his  slow journey home are so beautifully shot, framed and edited that I missed a few subtitles while taking it all in. The movie has a simple, poignant morality to it that offers just enough meaning to coincide with and provide substance for the beauty of the setting, without hindering the piece’s mystery or simplicity. It’s a gorgeous, colorful, understated and very successful look at a very different side of Iran and its people.

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His White Eyes

Director: Betty (Wen Wen) Jiang

One of my favorite things about Slamdance is leaving a screening not knowing how I feel about a film—feeling the lines between love and hate blur and fall away completely. His White Eyes is one of those films that’ll reach right out of the screen and splash cold water on your face. You’re awake and refreshed, sure, but damnit, now you’re all wet.

I initially felt that this film lacked set-up—lacked a simple overture to prepare the viewer—as the beginning scenes were confusing and ambiguous regarding character and plot.  Once I had oriented myself I felt the desire to go back and rewatch what now made sense to me.  At the same time, I feel downright dirty for suggesting any improvements to a piece so powerful. The lead, Tricia Collins, has my vote for best performance of the festival. Her emotions carried me from scene to scene and her performance alone was enough to endear me to the character of Esther. The film is unflinchingly intimate, saturated in color and feeling, and ultimately sad and sweet in equal proportion.  

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Jesse Hawlish

 

Screening Times:

Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 11:00 am - Technicolor Gallery

Monday, January 25, 2010 - 6:00 pm - Technicolor Gallery