Once again, the short film sessions at MIFF this year have all been extremely impressive. Caught, is a short and simple one gag film about a man who sleeps over at a woman’s house, and is unfortunately greeted by a not-so-impressed boyfriend as he tries to leave. The film is beautifully acted and directed, and has a killer punch line. This is a really great little rollercoaster ride, despite only lasting three minutes. It has an absolutely fantastic ending.
Jamaica, is the story of two lovers stuck in the middle of an unknown war zone, in an undefined era, who are trying to escape the realities of the outside world. In this truly beautiful Spanish film, the two lovers perform their own wedding ceremony, and relish their final moments together as the looming and anonymous threat of interruption and danger draws nearer. The cinematography in this film is fantastic. They use the lack of depth of field to great effect. The acting is superb, and despite only being a fifth teen minute film, you really feel attached to the two characters. There is a great deal of mystery and suspense in this film, as the enemy is faceless and unknown. In fact, the audience know very little about either of these peoples past or what lies ahead in the future. This is a great film that will make you laugh, make you cry, and gets your brain running as to why the situation is as it is.
Fair Trade, a German film, is a story about child trade between two very close countries in Europe. A desperate lady makes a trip overseas to meet up with her future child. After meeting with the baby, and witnessing the very distressed and extremely young mother, she decides to go along with the purchase. She agrees to meet the seller at a specific location back in her country the next day. Unfortunately though, as the smuggler tries to transport the baby via the sea, things don’t go exactly to plan. This is a tragic and moving story, about something that happens quite regularly. It’s very hard to watch, as a baby is affectively getting stolen from its mother, despite assurances that it will get a better life, and also because not everything goes to plan in this film. The locations are picturesque, and the photography is striking. It’s a great film, which really makes you think about the child smuggling business.
True Colours, is a British film about a loving family man with an implied susceptibility to violence, trip to the supermarket with his wife and child which goes horribly and tragically wrong. This is a really sad film to watch. At the beginning of the film, the husband tries hard to win his wife’s trust as he reveals a swollen and cut up lip, presumably due to fighting. But as he goes into the shop to pick up some ice cream for his adorable little boy, all that trust is quickly lost due to unfortunate bad luck and judgement. The casting and acting in this film is on the mark; the husband is very true to life, and the child is very cute. Essentially this is a very compelling film about fate, and also about perceptions.
Wrestling, is a very odd, yet extremely interesting and entertaining Iceland film about two men wrestling with the challenges of their constrictive world. The two men, one a farmer, the other a tunnel worker are having a relationship together, despite one of them already being married with a young child. When the drill finally breaks through the rock, signalling the end of the tunnel, this is also the end of the friendship between the two men. But, before one of them leaves, he decides to settle the matter over an unconventional wrestling match. This is a very visual film that uses images to explain the story, as opposed to lots of dialogue. The cruel and hostile landscape is the perfect backdrop, for a relationship that is laced with problems from the get go. The tunnel drilling and the wrestling is all a visual metaphor for what these people are going through. The wrestling, though is the standout component of the film, as it’s just so funny to watch – but again, it’s a ironic that a sport based on fighting, could actually bring two people closer together.
Fog, is another visually appealing film about a teenage boy called Ricky, who lives in a small fishing community in New Zealand, and is hindered by the expectations of his overbearing father. He is heavily attracted to an eccentric and outrageous girl who lives in the town, and decides to take her out on his father’s boat, late at night, under the protection of a blanket of thick fog. This is a really fascinating short film that really explores the relationship between the two young potential lovers. A lot of money has obviously gone into the production of this film, as it looks and sounds fantastic; especially the heavy fog scenes, set out at sea. The story is very entertaining, with a very appropriate, and satisfying conclusion.
Coco-Nuts, is a crazy Norway film, that mixes and matches documentary and fiction. As two girlfriends meet up at a coconut cake factory and store, they break in and out of song as they talk about their boyfriends, and potential lovers. Meanwhile, behind the counter, the owner of the shop is struggling to tell the documentary team about his apparently successful business. This is a seriously odd and playful film, which no real point to it, apart from pure entertainment. It does make you laugh – although you seriously have to wonder what it was really all about!