Sickeningly Normal Shorts
Life deals some tough hands to lovely people sometimes. Illness is one of the things that can alter the trajectory of our lives. What if we can’t live a normal life anymore?
These three short films look at life through a prism, asking: what is ‘normal’ anyway? They examine every-day activities we take for granted, poke fun at our prejudices and posit friendship and compassion as the only way forward.
Prends-Moi (Take Me)
Warning this is NSFW mature content.
This Sundance-nominated short from Canadian co-directors Anais Barbeau-Lavalette and Andre Turpin is an absolute must watch. The story is about Mani who works as a nurse at a centre for the disabled. One of Mani’s tasks is to help a young married couple have sex.
Barbeau-Lavalette and Turpin extract remarkable and tender performances from Maxime D. Pomerleau and Alexandre Vallerand, while Mani Soleymanlou is understated and compassionate as the nurse.
Through Mani’s eyes we see a new perspective on the unique challenges some people face doing something that the rest of us take for granted. The final scene is my favourite – as the couple return to their room past the centre’s other inhabitants, I can’t help but smile as they bask in a post-coital glow.
LaZercism is a satirical short film by Shaka King. The film purports to be an infomercial selling a surgical eye procedure to cure the fictional ailment of ‘Racial Glaucoma.’ Sufferers cannot recognise people of colour as actual people. The film pokes fun, while delivering a timely message about racial tolerance.
Chillingly believable and made with spot-on 90’s era graphics, this short – starring man of the hour Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta, Sorry to Bother You) – might not be tackling an actual affliction but it definitely reframes one of America’s greatest illnesses. While first released online, Sundance picked up LaZercism to play earlier this year.
King’s previous shorts include Mulignans and Newlyweeds, which likewise put an imaginative and darkly hilarious twist on racism.
The Last Storm
When the star of this film Mark Zabawa was diagnosed with lung cancer it was just one more of life’s sucker-punches. He has previously suffered bouts of depression, alcoholism and mental illness. The spectre of his forthcoming mortality forces this 60-year-old to examine his life, and there is one thing at the top of his bucket list: storm chasing.
Mark forms a friendship with Mike, a friend’s young nephew, and the two search for swirling twisters together. Men often find it hard to talk at the best of times, but here Mike connects with Mark over their shared passion, never feeling sorry for him or viewing Mark through his illness. Just a kindred spirit who’ll face the oncoming storm head-on.
London documentarian Liam St Pierre (The Weight of Light) builds a great rapport with this odd couple. While your jaw will drop at the stunning storm footage it’s the candid moments between these two people at very different points in life that will stay with you.