2018’s biggest laughs
Here at Show Me Shorts we try to pack in as many different styles and genres as we can into our festival programme, but something that will always stick out to us is a film that makes us laugh out loud.
Comedy is one of the hardest film genres to nail, but when it’s done right it can be magical. Laughter is cathartic, laughter is life-affirming and laughter can be a doorway into a rich emotional journey.
Here are three of the funniest films from our 2018 programme. They show three very different kinds of comedy and three different ways the filmmakers have used humour to draw us into their stories.
First up is the delightful Repugnant, landslide winner of our Calibrate Legal/Patrick McGrath Barrister People’s Choice Award.
Gay conversion therapy is a serious and terrifying issue, but apply it to dogs and it’s comedy gold. Kiwi writer/director Kyan Krumdieck uses satire and absurdity to critique this awful practice. However, he treats his characters with warmth and affection so you can understand how they’ve reached such extreme views. Excellent performances from Donogh Rees and scene-stealer Fergis the pug make Repugnant a relatable and hilarious crowd-pleaser.
It’s Complicated (South Africa)
At the other end of the humour spectrum is South African director Grant de Sousa’s deadpan romance It’s Complicated.
Shy Andy has fallen in love online and is about to meet his cyber-girlfriend in the flesh for the first time. But his best friend Nigel is a bit worried by the fact that she is a vampire. Kelvin Wong’s clever script takes a situation everyone can recognise – disliking a friend’s new partner – and mines it for great comic affect and genre gags. It’s easy to see why It’s Complicated has been a festival hit around the world.
Water Closet (NZ)
Anyone who’s ever used a public toilet has been repulsed by another user’s bathroom etiquette. In Water Closet (aka Toilet) Simeon Duncombe ponders the question – what if toilets could fight back?
This grotesquely high-concept film works because of two bravura performances: 1. actor and stuntman Allan Henry, whose physical mastery as the unfortunate drunk man who peed on the wrong floor is truly impressive. 2. the technical wizardry of the set itself. Duncombe designed the floodable set as well as writing, directing and shooting Water Closet. He deservedly won the NZFC Special Jury Prize at Water Closet‘s world premiere at Show Me Shorts and the film has since become a Vimeo Staff Pick.