Highlights from Francesca Rudkin!
Film and music reviewer (Rialto Channel, NZ Herald, Breakfast TV, Good Morning), and Show Me Shorts ambassador Francesca Rudkin discusses four of her favourite shorts from this years Show Me Shorts Film Festival. Ranging from a nostalgic comedy that attempts to create an idealized past, to unsuccessful flat-hunts, delightful animation and the challenges of motherhood.
The Show Me Shorts Festival is upon us once again, and, if the sneak peek I’ve had is anything to go by, then we’re in for a real treat. Local and international films of varying lengths, genres and mediums have been selected, and there’s some incredible talent on show. Watching a small collection of these films I was reminded of what an art the short film is; it’s not just an exercise in storytelling, it’s an exercise in telling a story under strict limitations – often financial.
The film Die Badewanne (The Bathtub) by young German filmmaker Tim Ellrich is a wonderful example of coming up with a clever, economical idea, and is my first highlight of the Festival.
Director: Tim Ellrich
Die Badewanne has been touring festivals around the world since its release in late 2015, and tells the story of three adult brothers trying to replicate a childhood photo of them in the bath together as a gift for their mother. The task itself provides the humour, but the way the brothers go about it also reveals that they’ve grown apart. As they undertake this silly endeavour their issues are stripped away, until we’re left with three brothers just doing something together to make their Mum happy. While the film does a great job of capturing family dynamics, producers will note the cleverness of this film. One location, one costume, one camera and three characters. Sure, these actors need to be able to pull this idea off in one take – but once the camera rolls, how wonderful to only worry about getting great performances, and Ellrich does.
Director: Matthieu Landour
This is a creative, charming and unpredictable film about a housing crisis. I know, who would have thought? Paul is a student from Lyon who’s recently moved to Paris and been unable to find a room to rent. When an overly friendly landlord offers him a nice studio at a reasonable rent he signs up immediately. Soon after moving in he notices strange noises, is baffled by the neighbour’s bizarre behaviour, and believes the flat is shrinking. Wacky art direction and quirky performances drive this sophisticated film, which feels like a darker Michel Gondry number. Director Matthieu Landour, who co-wrote with Nicolas Bovorasmy, shot Zero M2 in 6 days, 5 of which were in a studio where an entire flat, hallway, elevator and building front were built. It’s often talked about how a short film gives a filmmaker an opportunity to discover their voice and vision – in Zero M2 Landour clearly states who he is as a filmmaker, and it will be fascinating to see what he does next.
Director: Rhiannon Evans
This is a gorgeous animation filled with heart, from Welsh filmmaker Rhiannon Evans. After studying animation at the University of Wales Newport, Evans worked as a freelancer for a few years before beginning a post graduate degree in Directing Animation at The National Film & Television School. It was here she was chosen as a recipient of the prestigious BAFTA scholarship, and created Fulfilament. A little like an industrial Inside Out for thoughts instead of feelings, Fulfilament follows a lightbulb as it finds its place in the world, which just happens to be a brain. Evan’s art direction is intricate and the characterisation she instils in her lightbulb characters impressive. This is a sweet, clever and moving adventure, and has clearly been made with a lot of love.
Fulfilament will screen as a part of the My Generation session.
Director: Adnan Zandi
Sometimes it only takes three minutes for a film to take you through a range of emotions, and Parvaneha (Butterflies) by Iran director Adnan Zandi does just that. The film begins with a woman being told by a doctor she must try and soothe her sick baby, otherwise his crying may lead to convulsions. On her journey home, her son becomes hysterical and the mother desperately tries to find somewhere to breastfeed. As the child becomes more distressed so too does the mother, and our fear is that something as natural as breastfeeding could put them in grave danger. The kindness and solidarity shown as the story resolves changes the tone completely, and in just three minutes Zandi gets his point across and tugs at our heart strings. It might be a short short (about the length of time you can tolerate a baby crying), but the effect of this humanitarian film lingers for much longer.
Butterflies will screen as a part of the Homeland session.