Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dallas IFF Review: Documentary Shorts- Jonesy's Take

As much as I enjoy full length documentaries, I've never see the documentary short program. Usually this is the category that will mess up your Oscar poll during the Academy Awards. But after viewing this year's documentary shorts program at DIFF, I will make sure to catch this program again next year. There were seven shorts total with six of them being very strong. Below I have highlighted three of my favorites.

The documentary shorts will show again tonight, April, 9th, at 9:45 at the Angelika Dallas. 

VERMILLION CLIFFS, 2012. Directed by Hanny Lee, USA.
This short was the most unique because it relied on no narrator. Instead we get snippets of various residents of the Vermillion Cliffs Alzheimer's floor. The patients are quite endearing and some are absolutely heartbreaking. There's never a feeling of intrusiveness while we watch pieces of these lives, but rather an honest look at the various stages of the disease and everyday struggles with simple tasks such as drinking juice or getting into bed at night. 

THE ROPER, 2012. Directed by Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands, USA.
This is the one short that made me want to see a full length version of the story. Kendrick is the self-proclaimed only African-American roper in Louisiana. He's passionate and full of life. He's that type of charismatic character that documentary filmmakers long to find. He completely hooks the audience from the first couple seconds he's on screen, and whether we're into rodeos and roping or not, (THIS SENTENCE IS WEIRD)we're already cheering for him to win. 

THE BATTLE OF THE JAZZ GUITARIST, 2012. Directed by Mark Columbus, USA.
Director Mark Columbus wanted to pay tribute to his father, Maxwell Columbus, who was dubbed the Jimi Hendrix of the Fiji Islands back when he was young. The film is simple with most of the focus on Maxwell in front of a green screen as he strums one of his favorite pieces. Along the bottom of the frame, subtitles appear as Mark begins to unravel the somewhat tragic tale of his father. Mark's "narration" is funny and sometimes quite gripping as he accounts how his father's hidden resentment of having to give up music hindered their relationship. 

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