Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DIFF 2014: Shorts Program 1 - Javi's Take

Javi here back again with another set of shorts program reviews. As I've done in the past, I'll highlight some of my favorite shorts from the block and hopefully any additional information such as online availability. Check them out below.

THE LOTTERY(dir. Shahir Daud, USA

A young man is trying to immigrate to America and also wants to bring his girlfriend along, but the only way for them to make it is to get married. Given that they've only dated for about six months, it feels silly to do so. What makes this short great is how snappy the humor is and how the performances and the editing back up the writing. It's a heartfelt story about taking a chance and making compromises for young love.

BALCONY (dir. Lendita Zeqiraj, Kosovo)
In my time seeing short films, I've noticed that a lot of them have a tendency of just showing the "slice of life" of some other culture. BALCONY takes a simple premise of two women finding a bratty child hanging off the balcony and cursing at people to being a chain of events involving various members of the community, policemen, fire fighters, and the such. What's even more astonishing, apart from the writing, is the fact that the entire short is a single take. You don't realize it until it's almost over, but it's impressive upon reflection.

SATELLITE BEACH (dir. Andrew and Luke Wilson, USA)
This was the best of this bunch of short films. It follows a man who is in "charge" of the logistics and the execution of trying to move the space shuttle Endeavour as it makes its way through Los Angeles into the California Science Center. There were some wonderfully comedic moments and great shots of the neighborhoods of Los Angeles in a way that's not normally depicted in media, which helped make this short special. It was filmed during the actual events, and it's an effective allegory that meditates on rather weighty issues such as identity, determination, and trying to make your own path in life, no matter what. You can tell that there's a lot of love that went into this film.

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