CCILydia39
CCILydia39

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CCILydia39
7,413 Views · 22 days ago

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Tales From the Multiverse is used with permission from Magnus Igland Moller, Peter Smith and Mette Tange. Learn more at http://omele.to/3nMTOek.

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Up in the heavens, God is a stressed-out software developer, making adjustments to the cosmos on his computer as he tests out a new program called Multiverse. He's also a busy single parent who can't seem to get a break from his rambunctious kids, an angel and devil who are always fighting and baby Jesus screaming in the background.

One particular day when the kids are acting up and melting down, he's too busy to pay attention to his computer, and the cosmos goes slightly awry -- leading to a creation of a very different world as we know it.

This fun, rollicking animated short -- made by the team at acclaimed Danish animation house Tumblehead -- is a unique "alternate world" take on the story of creation, imagining the "great creator" in a new way that's likely highly relatable in the age of pandemic parenting, though the was made before the global onset of Covid-19. With great wit and an almost acrobatic sense of invention, it hops, skips and wiggles around the cosmos, imagining the comedic mayhem that results when the loose ends of creation are left dangling.

Portrayed in a mix of 2D and 3D animation, the scale of the storytelling is vast, as the distracted half-made adjustments by God play out throughout the universe. Dinosaurs, people and other creatures evolve in unexpected ways, which play out over a wide-ranging tapestry of time and space. Adam -- the original man -- in particular has an eventful, consequential run-in with an alien, with amusing consequences.

Like many animated shorts, it takes advantage of the imaginative possibilities of the medium to cram the 7-minute runtime with gags, jokes and flourishes of whimsy, starting with the creation of a universe by a computer program called Multiverse, which vaguely resembles an old program of Windows. It's funny to imagine that the whole of the cosmos can be compressed into one app, but with the vagaries of technology, it also means that mistakes can propagate much faster and much more widely.

In order to scale such breadth in terms of story and scope, the pacing is lightning-fast, giving the story's events a zaniness that resembles slapstick and farce, as well as the great cartoons of the 1950s. It gives the film a particularly family-friendly feeling, though there's plenty of subversive jokes in the action that grown-ups will appreciate, with details and cues that point to various conspiracy theories and religious references. This wealth of detail all snowballs to hilarious effect, until God himself finally gets a break from parenting emergencies to notice the warning on his computer, and the chaos it has wrought in his creation.

As a funny riff on the notion of worldbuilding and perhaps even the idea of "doing it all" as a parent, "Tales From the Multiverse" is a skewed take on creation and the origins of the universe. Its central conceit could easily be stretched and explored in different directions for a larger project, and it's fun to imagine all the different ways the multiverse could morph -- and imagine God as the ultimate parent, trying to balance home and job duties like so many other moms and dads working from home, and trying to keep his sanity in the process.

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God tries to create 'Earth'. But he can't get a break from the kids. | Tales From the Multiverse
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CCILydia39
1 Views · 22 days ago

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Made Public is used with permission from Foster Wilson. Learn more at http://omele.to/31PFl6M.

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It's the eve of Dave's wedding ceremony, and he's got doubts about tying the knot to his bride Sydney.

But when he makes his doubts public on social media, allowing his social network and beyond to weigh in on his dilemma, he's forced to confront his hesitations -- not to mention Sydney's Greek chorus of cynical bridesmaids and a very pissed-off Sydney herself -- in a pressure cooker of a situation. But has Dave's viral blunder derailed his marriage, or can he dig deep and save his relationship with Sydney?

Director Foster Wilson, along with writer Brian Leahy, has created a sharply witty, caustic and engaging comedy about the strange, irresistible impulse to share intimate thoughts and private dilemmas with anyone but the person you need to talk to most. Here, the third party is the general public, enabled by social media, which allows strangers to weigh in on a very intimate, emotional question for the groom at an unprecedented scale, adding a resolutely modern twist to the age-old trope of a groom having cold feet just as he's about to tie the knot for life.

The film's strength rests on the foundation of its excellent writing, which blends smart, sharp-edged dialogue and well-observed social insights about how we conduct our lives in the era of constant sharing, likes and polls.

There are plenty of zingers and quips in the dialogue, but they're given pace and shape by nimble, quicksilver directing, particularly in the kinetic camerawork, which adds cinematic flair and underscores the almost farcical nature of Dave's situations.

The storytelling never really quite falls into farce, however, thanks to emotionally grounded performances by actors Jeanine Mason as Sydney and Josh Zuckerman as Dave. While both can deliver comedic moments with great timing and perfect arch or deadpan delivery, they also play believable people having a believable emotional crisis. Mason nails Sydney's fury, delving into how anger masks a clear sense of hurt, pain and sadness at the idea of Dave having doubts, while Zuckerman plays Dave's doubts and fears with honesty.

Both are relatable characters, which makes the final movement of "Made Public" that much more engaging and even heartfelt. It's a conversation that Dave and Sydney clearly needed to have before the wedding, and the fact that it's happening just before the ceremony in front of a huge audience adds both stomach-churning anxiety and awkward comedy to its unraveling. But when they get through the other side, there is genuine vulnerability, honesty and intimacy, giving both Sydney and Dave a chance to love and care for one another -- and a stronger foundation to build a loving, lasting marriage upon.

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A groom gets cold feet and posts about it to social media. Then it goes viral. | Made Public
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Pantser is used with permission from Jan Verdijk. Learn more at http://omele.to/3oWvdpX.

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A global epidemic has ravaged the planet, decimating much of the population. Amidst it all, two sisters, Roos and Mira, live in isolation in the woods, fending for themselves. Their parents left for help a month ago, but they haven't returned since.

Their hermetic world is ruptured when a stranger in a hazmat suit appears outside their home, promising them safety in a nearby underground bunker. The girls have a choice to make: to trust this stranger and strike out on their own, or stick close to home in the hopes that their parents return.

Written and directed by Jan Verdijk, this short thriller begins as a portrait of two loving sisters on their own, managing a difficult situation while navigating their increasingly ominous circumstances. It's a quiet, atmospheric film at first, focusing on the sisters and their sealed-off world. Telling details -- from the glimpse of a dead boy just outside the house, or choosing pickled vegetables or cat food for dinner -- tell us plenty about what's happened, and muted, eerie cinematography adds to the foreboding atmosphere.

But the focus in the first third of the film is on the relationship between Roos and Mira, with Roos taking the caretaker role of her younger sibling and quietly taking the measure of their situation. The performances here by young actors Nola Kemper and Femke De Booys are superb, balancing a fundamental innocence with an understated but growing uncertainty.

This quiet but ominous atmosphere is disrupted when the stranger appears. At first, he sounds friendly, but soon he begins asking questions, his tone becoming more insistent and appealing to the younger, more manipulatable Mira. His offer to escort the girls to a nearby underground shelter sounds appealing and sensible, but his manner is aggressive. The storytelling picks up the pace from here, propelling the girls into both a predicament and an ethical dilemma: do they trust the stranger and let him in? As the eldest sister, Roos must make a choice to manage a dire situation.

Roos's choice is drastic, and its consequence is laid out with truly nail-biting tension, each beat leading into a chain of choices that are riveting and shocking. Or perhaps not so shocking, especially in a world ravaged by disaster. "Pantser" delivers a superbly crafted narrative that generates both suspense and compelling emotion. But, with a clear thematic connection to the real-life global pandemic, it also becomes a meditation on social trust and the effects of its erosion on ourselves. In times where survival seems certain, we retreat and shield ourselves from danger at all costs. But in the process, we become suspicious of others and sever our connection to the wider community. And, as Roos and Mira learn, it comes often at the cost of our humanity.

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2 sisters are trapped at home amid a deadly pandemic. Then a suspicious man offers help. | Pantser
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Civil is used with permission from Stephen Takashima. Copyright (2018) Stephen Takashima. Learn more at http://omele.to/2UDo2C6 and http://omele.to/2FeNgkM.

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Deshawn, a Black door-to-door salesman, is canvassing a neighborhood, trying to rack up his first sale. But he's struggling to even keep doors open long enough to deliver his message.

But then, as his training supervisor shepherds him to another house, he gets his first nibble of interest from a man named Marshall... only to spot a Confederate flag on the wall of this potential client.

Writer-director Stephen Takashima's short drama tackles a hot-button topic, unfurling a character-centered story that not only weaves a quiet sense of dread and tension in its storytelling but illuminates the different emotional responses evoked by a controversial symbol.

The craftsmanship is solid, and the writing is similarly well-structured, building its discomfort with care and precision. As Deshawn gets invited inside a man's house to demonstrate his product, he becomes increasingly tense in the presence of a Confederate flag, leading to a small collision of ideas.

The writing gives the pro-flag POV an even-handed articulation, portraying Marshall in an understated performance by actor Walt Sloan, who balances notes of wariness and defensiveness with genuine attempts to relate in some way with Deshawn.

But it also takes considerate care to portray "Shawn's" inner experience, offering a window into the small yet sharp slights he receives from the assumptions that others make due to the color of his skin. Actor Bryson Thomas deftly evokes both Deshawn's discomfort with the racism he faces with his desire to make a sale -- and then, later, to not provoke a conflict. Watching him both suppress his clear discomfort -- and swallow his real feelings -- is difficult and even quietly unnerving as the story goes on.

Even when offered the opportunity to "discuss" his opinion, Deshawn recognizes that the "table" that he's invited to isn't genuinely balanced, equal or even open to his perspective. In fact, as his interaction with Marshall goes on, it feels potentially dangerous, and the able camerawork and screen direction do admirable work in slowly ratcheting up the tension in a quiet, organic way -- not through the machinations of plot, but through the clash of ideas, emotions and character.

"Civil" is a short drama meant to provoke discussions about the historical legacies that America has around race, and it does so through film's ability not just to put viewers in the footsteps of others, but by dramatizing how history and ideology bubble up in our everyday lives and interactions. With its skill in evoking unease and discomfort, it draws audience interest throughout, but the film's main attraction and achievement isn't a thriller-like denouement, but a deeper, more intimate understanding of what it means to be Black in an America still wrestling with its troubled legacies.

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A Black salesman gets his first customer, then sees a Confederate flag on the wall. | Civil
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Lizard Brain is used with permission from Jon Ebeling. Learn more at http://omele.to/3ppVw8k.

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Jon has been broken up with his ex-girlfriend Bailey, but he still has lingering unresolved feelings about her, which he details to his therapist.

But then Bailey re-enters his orbit, and the two embark on a fragile friendship. But their unfinished business brings out his feelings of neediness, anger and insecurity. And soon he realizes that the emotional tumult might be signs of deeper mental health challenges.

Written and directed by Jon Ebeling (who also plays the lead role), this short dramedy finds humor in the awkwardness of dealing with exes. But through its sharp dialogue and emotional rawness, it also shines a light on mental health challenges in a raw, honest way.

The filmmaking approach itself is also simple, with a mostly hand-held naturalistic feel that keeps the focus on writing and performances. In its broadest outlines, the story is about difficult breakups and the ways that they can leave us flailing. The opening scene with Jon's therapist seems to reveal some progress, though we quickly see from Jon's subsequent actions that the picture is more nuanced and complicated.

The storytelling has an eye for giving us glimpses of telling, ironic detail, whether it's in the offhand comments of other characters or a bystander's reaction. But as Jon and Bailey try to embark on a friendship, we feel more and more that it will be more a collision than anything.

As lead actor, Ebeling's performance is authentic and unvarnished. He plays the agony and anxiety of the situation, and while he finds irony and humor in his character's foibles, it's also a genuinely vulnerable and revealing performance that hints at the self-frustration and self-recrimination that feeds into Jon's larger issues. When he and Bailey meet up, it leads to a climax of essential self-sabotage, which brings out a darker side in Jon that he finally sees in sharp relief.

"Lizard Brain" is a colloquial term for the part of the brain that acts in primitive, non-rational or self-interested ways in response to stress or danger. And it's a fitting title, as Jon finally sees the way his lizard brain sabotages his relationships. The ending of the film has a flippant, ironic way to it, with Jon agreeing that therapy is "working" -- when it hasn't quite yet borne fruit. It may have given him some self-awareness of what's going on within himself, but he hasn't yet developed the tools to work with it. He's set for another leg on the journey, proving that the road to mental wellness and self-awareness is a winding one, full of unexpected detours, roadblocks, but sometimes also insight.

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A young man's ex comes back into his life. Then another side of him appears. | Lizard Brain
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Time and Again is used with permission from Aidan Largey and Causeway Pictures. Learn more at http://omele.to/39oWIi3.

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Lucen is a child genius with a talent for invention and engineering. During one fateful summer, he enlists his loyal best friend Brian to help him build a time machine.

At first, the project seems like a lark, a way to spend the summer hours. But as Brian gets to know Lucen and discovers Lucen's painfully distant family life, with an emotionally remote father and absent mother, he realizes the time machine has a much bigger significance for Lucen. When Lucen's invention is complete, it takes the precocious youth to an unexpected and emotional place.

This warmhearted, earnest drama -- written and directed by Aidan Largey and produced by Margaret McGoldrick and Leo McGuigan -- may have a time machine at the center of its plot, but any sci-fi trappings are secondary to the richer emotional journey of its characters. Told from the point-of-view of an older, wiser but still very affectionate Brian, this is a story about loyalty, friendship, family and acceptance, told with great generosity and sincerity.

The film is shot much more like a family drama than a sci-fi genre film, with its warmly burnished lighting and photography and its eye for lovely natural detail. Handsomely shot, there's a comforting gentleness to the craftsmanship, and much of the film is suffused with a golden, mellow light that often feels like the deep affection of memory and nostalgia.

Similarly, the character-centered writing focuses less on the razzle-dazzle of time travel and invention, instead, training its attention on the interactions and relationships between the two boys. It gives them time to talk, and the pair sound like two real kids talking instead of children exchanging overly witty quips a la Disney.

The pacing takes its time, with a looseness that lets viewers come to know the story's characters. From a structural perspective, taking the POV of the best friend actually offers the story the greatest narrative ground to traverse, since Lucen is a bit of a mystery to Brian, and the audience discovers alongside him what motivates Lucen.

Lucen, as it turns out, has suffered a good amount of travail with his family. He refuses to talk about his absent mother, and his father -- played by Game of Thrones actor Ian Beattie -- is silent and distant, unable to relate at all to Lucen. Coming from this emotionally starved background, Lucen builds his time machine in the hopes of connecting with his mother. But when it fails, he must come to accept his loss, and move through it.

Emotionally generous and unafraid of wearing its heart on its sleeve, "Time and Again" uses the time machine not simply as a plot device -- the film doesn't elaborate much on its mechanics or its innovation. Instead, it becomes a rich metaphor for the longing to explore the past or anticipate the future. And while both impulses are understandable -- especially when it comes to dealing with long-buried grief -- they also take us out of the here and now. The present moment may be painful, dissatisfying or woefully inadequate, but it is ultimately where life's richness lies, forming the foundation of memories that keep us connected to our pasts and adding up to a bridge to a solid future.

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A child genius tries to build a time machine to connect with his absent mother. | Time and Again
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Four Eyes is used with permission from Michael Clowater. Learn more at http://omele.to/3m4uQpf.

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It's 1977 and Brian is 11 years old. He's having a hard time in life: he's picked on in his neighborhood because he's weird and awkward, and they break his glasses and call him "Four Eyes."

Meanwhile, his mother Helen is having difficulties of her own, as she struggles to adjust to life as a stay-at-home mom to three kids, raising them completely on her own. She doesn't fit in with the other mothers and feels isolated and depressed, which manifests as impatience and irritation. But when conflict comes to a head for Brian, Helen must rise to the occasion and help Brian stand up for himself -- in the only way she knows how.

Written and directed by Michael Clowater, this short comedy-drama takes place in 1970s suburbia, and it's rife with fantastic period detail and mores: kids roam freely in neighborhoods on their bikes, talk about the awesome new movie Star Wars and even the "four eyes" taunt seems specific to the late 70s and early 80s.

In many ways, the era of the story deeply influences the style of the film. There's a warm, burnished, textured look to the camera and photography, and a loose-limbed ambling quality to the editing and movement as if life in the suburbs moves at its own pace. The approach gives breathing room for viewers to really get to know the character, and the understated, dry humor lands naturally, without being over-forced.

The writing has deep empathy for all its characters, aware of how they don't fit in and how they struggle in their worlds. Helen can't quite fake the blithe happiness of the other housewives around her and is frustrated by her life and the aggravations that keep popping up; Brian is targeted for his own vulnerability. They're lost in their own problems, which affect their relationship with one another.

The performances likewise are deeply honest and unafraid of difficult, thornier emotions. Helen can be abrasive and frustrated with her children, and she doesn't naturally possess the maternal softness of a typical sitcom mom. Tough-minded and no-nonsense, actor Sprague Grayden deftly portrays her escalating frustration with her role as a suburban mom, which comes to a head with Brian's glasses. He breaks them, then loses them, and with no father in the house, she's on her own to deal with it, and unaware of just why they break.

Actor Mylo Gosch portrays Brian's embarrassment at his problems and his wariness with his mom's irritability, which keeps him from telling her what's going on. But when the truth finally comes out and Helen becomes aware of Brian's social problems, she teaches him how to stand up with himself. The solution isn't perfect -- but it fits both perfectly to a tee.

Rich with irony and eschewing schmaltzy sentimentality, "Four Eyes" has the nostalgic spirit of a film like Bad News Bears. But this is a family story above all else, with a warmth and humor that isn't feel-good but earned through the full growth and authentic expression of character. When Helen realizes just what is going on with Brian, her advice and counsel goes against the current parenting mores, and certainly viewed through today's lens of helicopter parenting and over-coddled children, it seems shocking, though very funny. But it's very true to her personality, and in the end, it also expresses her belief in her son's strength, as well as her love for him.

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A young boy is bullied for wearing glasses. Then he stands up for himself. | Four Eyes
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Ironied is used with permission from Tyler Lionel Parr. Learn more at http://omele.to/2jrQVQo.

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Filmmaker and actor Tyler Lionel Parr offers an affecting dual portrait of two men -- one in "normal" circumstances and one homeless -- on a journey of self-awareness.

The first half of the film focuses on Donald, as he deals with a very bad morning. The second half follows Charlie, a homeless drug addict who is trying to get through his day alive.

The two men could not seem more different on the surface, but the film's tone of gentle humor and patient compassion is a perfect lens to view the breadth and depth of humanity.

"Ironied" is defined by its unusual two-act structure, beautiful photography and stellar performance. Both characters are portrayed by the director, but the acting is so natural, engaging and seamless than many viewers may not realize the same man portrays two different characters.

Sincere, genuine and made with great heart, "Ironied" has a beautiful message -- all of us are just trying to get through our days with some degree of grace and dignity.

Song: Iron Pump by Olenka and the Autumn Lovers
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A social worker has the worst day of his life. Then a homeless man gives him perspective. | Ironied
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Tapes is used with permission from Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney. Learn more at http://omele.to/3h5AOYg and http://omele.to/3to67Qj.

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Maddie is a young woman who discovers a cassette tape recording of her parents' couples therapy session from 30 years earlier, right before Maddie was born. In these tapes, Maddie hears something that discomfits and hurts her profoundly.

As she and her boyfriend head to the family home for Sunday night dinner, she keeps hearing the secret she discovered in her mind -- making for a powderkeg of a family meal.

Written and directed by Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, this witty family dramedy has a veneer of urban sophistication, recalling filmmakers like Whit Stillman and Noah Baumbach. Like other comedies of manners, the storytelling is rich with stylized, often droll dialogue, and is attuned to how conversation reveals character and can prove cataclysmically eventful.

But it also has the beating heart of a family drama, exploring how layers of long-running tension and assumptions can shift with new revelations, sending up emotional earthquakes in the process. The family dynamic is established with sharp, intelligent writing, as quicksilver editing and seemingly casual camerawork capture small moments between the different family members.

Viewers quickly see the family is close-knit, with flourishes of eccentricity and absurdity, including the presence of a "life doula" brought to dinner by Maddie's sister Fran. The cast of actors -- led by Maddie Fischer as Maddie, and including veteran character actors Jay O. Sanders and Maryann Plunkett as her parents --hit these comic moments with clever, sly understatement.

But as Maddie looks at the details of her family home -- the pictures of her and her mother when she was a kid, for instance -- she can't help but see them differently. And when she explodes in resentment and hurt, she sets off a contagion of deep emotions and even deeper truths, with the collective ensemble hitting a perfect storm of both difficult emotion and comic outbursts.

Entertaining, relatable and unafraid of unvarnished emotion, "Tapes" seems light on its feet, with its quick rhythms and sharply observant eye for telling and ironic detail. Its wry sense of humor overlays a deeper minefield of hurts, as well as a secret history of pain -- layers that are handled with genuine commitment to feeling, but also with a certain nimbleness and eye for irony. Juxtaposing these tones in "Tapes" is a balancing act that touches upon the complexity of family life, gesturing at both the joy and importance of belonging, as well as the price we pay in silence and sometimes sadness to maintain familial equilibrium.

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A woman discovers a recording of her parents' couples therapy session from 30 years earlier. | Tapes
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Ismat is a single South Asian immigrant mother who has found work as a seamstress in New York City. She is raising her young daughter on her own and works long hours at a job with a callous, demanding boss that she tolerates with the hope of getting her papers. Hard-working and dedicated, Ismat is just trying to make a life for herself and her child, and she is willing to endure any number of small indignities to survive.

But as her boss increasingly favors a new employee -- and refuses to give Ismat time off for her daughter -- Ismat begins to struggle with the inherent vulnerability of her position. But when she witnesses something furtive and distressing at her job, she finds herself with the means to get what she wants, though it might compromise her morality.

Written and directed by Gauri Adelker, this short drama seems to be, on the surface, an intimate and thoughtful example of social realism, shot with a naturalistic eye and focused on social context as much as character in its storytelling. The excellent writing, directing and performances all have a precision and observant eye for small yet telling detail, letting quiet moments and gestures resonate with few words and little melodrama.

Ismat herself is very quiet, but she is hard-working, smart and watchful, as well as a dedicated mother. Through carefully molded, sensitive storytelling, she deals with her toxic workplace, small humiliations in her language class and a general feeling of isolation. She is on her own, fending for herself and her daughter, and at first glance, she seems to be more of a social type than a character.

But actor Kalieaswari Srinivasan's rich performance complicates the cheerful, hard-working stereotype of a South Asian immigrant, adding a layer of stoic enduring that begins to verge into simmering resentment -- and making Ismat flawed, human and fascinating in the process. As the story progresses, Ismat's tightening circumstances and a slow but surehanded increase in tension generate considerable suspense. When Ismat's boss commits a particularly egregious abuse, Ismat reveals surprising mettle and toughness, and a willingness to double down to get what she wants. Her confrontation with her boss is worthy of any crime drama, with its high stakes and its riveting sharpness -- and its sense of dark triumph at the end.

Subverting the tropes of both the immigrant drama and the thriller genre, "A Woman of No Importance" succeeds and fascinates because its sense of conflict doesn't just come from its social context but from human beings going to desperate lengths to get their deep desires and needs met. Though sensitive to the vulnerabilities of Ismat's position and told with a documentary-like sensibility, Ismat's story never reduces her to a stereotype. She builds resentments; she strategizes with cunning and smarts; she refuses to be a victim in a genre that can sometimes reduce its marginal figures in society to helplessness. With a moral ambiguity and a steely resolve, she emerges out of those margins, the main character in not just her story but her life.

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An undocumented, single mother in Queens finds herself at the crossroads. | A Woman of No Importance
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Isaac and Jude meet up for a bite to eat in their favorite South London fried chicken joint. As longtime friends, they've known each other since childhood, but from the way they're dressed, their styles have diverged. And so have their lives: Issac has a white-collar job and is now buying a house in East London, while Jude has remained in their neighborhood, dealing drugs and struggling to try to keep a family together.

Joking and friendly, warmth and affection still flow between the two men. But as they catch up, they wrangle over questions of staying in the community, leaving friends behind and what it means to be successful in life. As they finally have dinner together, their paths may be taking them farther apart.

Writer-director Abraham Adeyemi's Oscar-longlisted short drama is a fraught but affectionate portrait of a lifelong friendship between two men, now at a crossroads in life as they face shattered dreams, hard-won successes and changing lives. Told as a two-hander interwoven with flashbacks to when they were boys, the narrative generates both melancholy and warmth in tracing how currents of love and resentment flow between the two friends as they grapple with the questions of home, loyalty and community.

The backbone of a two-hander is often the double helix of writing and performance. Both are solidly accomplished here, with a sharp, concise way of limning character and values through dialogue. The characters easily slip back and forth between the Jamaican and more straight-laced English, but the dialogue also contracts and expands the psychological distance between Isaac and Jude as they talk. This back-and-forth guides the intimate, handheld camerawork, visual naturalism and editing capturing the South London milieu that functions as a looming influence over Isaac and Jude.

The use of flashback in such an intimate format can sometimes be jarring in shorts, but it works effectively here to offer a contrast between the boys who are more simpatico in style and sensibility, and the men they've become, who make radically different choices from one another. Both sets of actors playing their pair -- Ivanno Jeremiah and Parys Jordon as adult Isaac and Jude, and Joshua Camera and Tyrus Mckenzie as their boyhood counterparts -- have ease and naturalness, as well as understated precision in hinting at the differences and tensions navigated by the characters. Those tensions never quite come to a head, but there is an underlying sadness for both viewers and characters in realizing that these friends may be slowly drifting apart, as their journeys and choices in life take them in opposite directions.

A prize-winner at Tribeca, "No More Wings" has an unpretentious, worn-in and authentic modesty in its look and feel. But the story is rich in feeling and thoughtful in exploring the sociocultural tensions it gives voice to, and in the end, its emotional impact feels much bigger and more panoramic than initially hinted.

The dilemma of staying true to the community while rising higher in life is a tension often navigated in many neighborhoods, especially as they rapidly gentrify. But what "No More Wings" accomplishes with compelling grace and thoughtfulness is showing how the boisterous warmth and sometimes demanding pull of community lives within us, casting a long, keenly felt influence -- one that feels like both a shadow and embrace, often at the same time.

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2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged. | No More Wings
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Young teen Jessica and her kid brother Charlie are setting out on a journey. They leave behind a dark, unsettling home life and set out into the larger world with few belongings.

The countryside they travel through is idyllic, stretching out around them in a pastoral, seemingly peaceful expanse. Together, they make a stop at a place they once enjoyed in simpler, happier times. But all is not what it seems, both in the world and between the siblings, as they embark on a trip that will change their lives forever.

Written and directed by David Yorke, this short drama appears at first to be a tender portrait of a relationship between a sister and her young brother, imbued with the golden light and beauty of the countryside. Taking a maternal role with Charlie and likely for the entire family, Jessica shepherds her brother as they prepare to leave. At first, it seems like a lighthearted excursion, captured in lyrical camerawork and cinematography. But the silent, ominous figure of their mother lying in the living room is a prominent hint that their pair are fleeing a troubling situation.

The storytelling toggles between the tender-hearted sweetness of the siblings in the past as they play in the countryside and their murkier present. Their golden memories are carefree and visually bright; their present is dustier and darker in tone. Small details in the dialogue and sound -- from sirens and crying in the background to promises to protect Charlie from pain -- build up a mystery of a troubled milieu that Jessica and Charlie are fleeing. The film often exists in a lyrical register, but embedded in its style are hints of a more troubling story, tucked away in the background for perceptive viewers to discover.

Young actor Jodie Price offers a subtle, nuanced performance as Jessica, capturing both the joy of being a sister to Charlie and a weight that only gets heavier as the story goes on. She evokes a burden of troubled emotion, one she carefully hides from her brother. Through it all, Charlie -- played by young performer Charlie Price with charming guilelessness -- trusts Jessica above anything else, which makes the end of their journey together all the more heartbreaking.

The end of "Safekeeping," taken on its own, could feel shocking. But as the wider world of the film is revealed and Jessica's actions are given context, the narrative gives rise to questions of love, duty and morality. It also makes for fascinating viewing, especially given recent worldwide events when so many people had to make hard decisions about their loved ones or watch helplessly as they suffered. Through it all, love endures -- but the shape it takes can depend on the world around us, full of forces often beyond our control.

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A young teen and her kid brother embark on a journey that changes their lives forever. | Safekeeping
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Davis is seeing his therapist Dr. Stone, who scribbles in his notebook during the entire session. He starts talking about a recent incident in his life, but the therapist wants him to express his feelings instead of judging other people.

But then the session takes a tense turn, as Davis makes a seeming joke about self-harm that sends up red flags for Dr. Stone. But as Davis continues to talk about a racially charged incident he experienced as a Black man and emotions begin to run high, the lines between therapist-client begins to blur into a more complex yet compassionate relationship.

Written and directed by Matthew Law (who also plays Davis), this short drama has an initially fragmented style inspired by film noir, full of off-kilter, almost abstractly framed images and restless editing. With its elegantly black-and-white cinematography, there's a tension created in the craft, one that reflects the tension in the writing and performances, which explore the psychological toll of racism.

The excellent writing takes advantage of the unusual intimacy of its setting to dig deep quickly, as Dr. Stone prods Davis, who has a history of violence, to move beyond angry judgment and defensiveness into owning the pain and suffering that's their real root. This is the work of much of contemporary therapy, but it takes on added meaning when dealing with the burdens of racism, both as the subject of conversation and an underlying factor in how clients are perceived.

Actors Shaun Clay and Law as doctor and patient, respectively, turn in excellent, vulnerable performances as they hash out the intricacies of accountability and validation. The climax comes when Davis finally drills down to what he needs: he wants Dr. Stone to see him not as a patient to be diagnosed and monitored, but as a fellow Black man who understands why seemingly minor incidents can feel hugely demoralizing and painful. In doing so, Davis finds a space to unleash his pain.

Lucid, rawly compelling and artful, "True Story: I Feel" explores the psychological toll of racism, as well as both the necessity and limitations of mental health care. One man must admit his helplessness and pain and learn to safely express his rage and sadness. The other must overcome his own internalized ideas of violence and Black men. They meet finally in a space of raw compassion. In the end, there is a sense of respite and even brightness for Davis. It doesn't change everything, but it offers a spot of strength for him going forward into a world often hostile to his very existence.

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A Black therapist tries to get a violent patient to reveal his true feelings. | True Story: I Feel
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Miko is a young 5-year-old girl whose mother, Claudia, has to go out of town on an important last-minute business trip. There is no other childcare available except for Miko's Uncle Jeff, an aging rock musician who hasn't quite faced up to reality and still wants to relive his glory days of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll.

He's not an ideal babysitter for a little girl at all, but he grudgingly takes Miko anyway. Caring for Miko proves to be a challenge, but she also becomes the catalyst for Jeff to look at his life and reconnect with his creative and emotional spark.

Written and directed by Candice Carella with straightforward simplicity, this heartwarming short family drama's pleasures and impact come from watching fully developed characters forge full, rich relationships with one another -- ones that nudge us to grow, learn and love more deeply.

On the longer side of a short film, the writing takes time to flesh out the emotional situations that have shaped each of the main characters. Miko's mother is hardworking and loving, but sometimes that love is expressed as hovering and anxious, which dampens her daughter's spirit at times. Jeff is still caught up in a rock 'n roll lifestyle, which makes him self-centered and dissolute.

The narrative picks up momentum when their stories and characters collide, finding both humor and conflict in their vastly different ages, temperaments and personalities. There's an odd couple dynamic in their interactions, and Jeff initially brushes off his responsibilities to Miko, leaving her somewhat to her own devices. Being a child, she naturally wreaks havoc on Jeff's set routines and lifestyle.

Actor Xander Berkeley -- a veteran actor from shows like The Walking Dead and 24 and films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day -- plays Jeff with compelling, fundamental decency. But he's not afraid to hit unsympathetic notes of self-absorption and selfishness. As the story unfurls and he gets to know Miko (played by young performer Miko Nakano with great charm and sweetness), his character is confronted with the decisions and events of the past that have shaped his present, which he has steadfastly avoided until now. But having Miko in his orbit reawakens the buried aspects of his self, which he can make peace with and then move forward from.

Sweet, heartwarming and unabashedly sincere, "Pony" is a story of both childhood and adulthood, and how we grow towards wholeness by facing up to our wounds, sadnesses and past traumas. Jeff's newfound friendship with Miko, and her innocence and the protectiveness that it demands from Jeff, help him embark on this journey. Though they're separated by a generation and life experience, they're both each other's teachers in different ways, helping one another with empathy, care and love.

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A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle. | Pony
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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An older couple is grappling with the disappearance of their missing daughter, when they get word of her location.

Together, the mother and father travel to a remote corner of Pennsylvania to retrieve her -- only to be confronted with her boyfriend at the doorstep with a gun. In the high-stakes pressure of the encounter, revelations surface, fracturing the reality between them all and changing lives forever.

Writer-director Michael Capone's short drama is a powerful, incisive snapshot of the moment that a family's understanding ruptures and explodes -- and the pernicious, poisonous secrets underneath the appearance of care and concern.

The short has a compressed narrative revolving around one tense confrontation, and it keeps its background information tightly controlled. And its creative approach is equally taut and economical, with focused, almost claustrophobic visuals, little background information in the writing, a minimal yet tense electronic score to develop its sense of unease.

Yet within its pared-down economy of elements, the film goes deep into a turning point in this family's life, using its deliberate and steady escalation of tension to squeeze out a dark secret -- and marking the moment that irrevocably changes the dynamic between all the members.

The excellent performances by the cast grant emotional specificity to each character, generating both understanding and suspense with careful and precise moments. Even the smallest blink has heavy portent, and once its secrets come out, we as viewers experience their poison and torment as much as the characters involved.

"Doorstep" has a serious subject at its center, but at its core, it's about the violation of trust and love that is supposed to be at the heart of family, and how it obliterates the sense of security and personhood of those who were violated. The film has a strong, almost brilliant way to represent the way a person can feel invisible and dehumanized by what's happened to them: here, the victim is given only one shot -- a POV -- in the film. Like the rest of the short, the creative decision is brutally simple in its concept and execution -- but says multitudes about how abuse can erase its victims with silence, secrecy and shame.

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A couple searches for their missing daughter. Then a secret spills out into the open. | Doorstep
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Mitch and Emma are breaking up, having a difficult and emotional conversation about the end of their relationship.

But in the middle of it, they're interrupted by a stranger named Ryan, who's looking to buy Mitch's bass amp, who's totally clueless about what he's walked into.

Writer-director Matt Porter's small comedy is a small slice-of-life narrative that derives its humor less from gags, pranks and silliness and more from the awkward juxtaposition of the different realities that people occupy as they go about their life.

On one hand, there's the central couple, played by Kate Eastman and Ryan Creamer, who play their break-up scene with the sincere vulnerability and heartbreak of an earnest relationship drama.

On the other hand, there's the clueless bystander played by Patrick Noth, who is oblivious to the drama unfolding in front of him. To him, he's in a movie of his own making, as an up and coming musician who needs only this amp for musical glory.

The film derives its edge and humor through the collision of these two different "movies." Through witty, funny but emotionally honest writing and a set of deft performances that navigate both the comedic and dramatic demands of the material, the dissolving couple try to handle their interruption with grace, momentarily suppressing their raw feelings and the reality of what's going on in the presence of an outsider.

But the amp buyer simply doesn't wise up to what's happening in front of him, slowly raising the tension for Mitch and Emma, who just want to move on with their difficult conversation. Ryan never gets a clue, which leads to an impassioned outburst from Emma, which becomes the film's centerpiece monologue about love, loss and acceptance. It's a moving, powerhouse moment, full of emotion and honesty, and it's wonderfully juxtaposed with cutaways to the clueless looks from Ryan, wondering what's really going on in front of him.

"Damage" is small-scale in its narrative scale -- just three people in a room having a conversation -- but it unfurls a huge amount of awkward but very real pathos and humor from its story, writing and performances. Relatable and well-executed, the short is both a well-earned laugh at life's absurdity and a love letter of gratitude and pain to past relationships. It also offers a small reminder that everyone is dealing with something in life, even right in front of us -- we only need to truly open our eyes to see it, in all its real, weird, awkward authenticity.

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A couple's breakup is interrupted by a stranger looking to buy a bass amp. | Damage
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CCILydia39
5 Views · 22 days ago

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Arthur is a sci-fi enthusiast, with a passion for genre shows and memorabilia. While calling customer service about a problem with a recent order, he develops a rapport with a service agent named Katie. Katie seems friendly and easy to talk to, so much that Arthur feels a genuine connection to her.

When Arthur gets the package for his order replacement, he finds a note from Katie. Touched by Katie's personal touch, he tries to reconnect with her, only to discover that she isn't what she seems.

Directed by Keith Allott from a script by Kevin Richmond-Walls, this perceptive sci-fi short has the acuity and poignancy of a traditional drama, with its focus on the emotional landscape of its reclusive, isolated character. Though the narrative scope is confined to one live-action character in a room having two separate conversations with an off-screen character, the narrative goes deep and reaps insight into the fundamental human desire for connection, thanks to excellent writing and performances, steady pacing and disciplined camerawork.

We don't know much about Arthur or life outside his home. Instead, the storytelling is focused on the transformation that happens throughout a simple, seemingly quotidian conversation between him and Katie. Customer service has devolved into almost pure functionality, but Katie's deviations from the typical scripts surprise Arthur, especially when she bonds with him over his favorite shows. The writing captures the pleasures of making an unexpected connection and, more importantly, just how much light it brings to a lonely life. That loneliness is also implied by the tight, cramped way Arthur is shot, shrouded with shadows, alone in his workshop or living space.

Arthur and Katie's banter could border on flirtatious, but the appeal of it is not the promise of romance. Instead, in a life full of isolation, the film succeeds in capturing just how comforting and vital relating to another human being is, even on the simplest level. Actor Michael Muyunda's performance is a subtle and rich one, capturing a private, cloistered demeanor from too much time spent alone. But as he talks with Katie, Arthur is pulled out of himself by her easygoing chitchat, unfurling a wonder at connecting to another person so easily.

If "Lifelike" was a naturalistic drama, the story would likely go develop its themes of human connection towards a promising heart-warming conclusion. But it stays true to its sci-fi genre bona-fides, revealing a sharp interrogation of how technology can leverage and even manipulate our fundamental human needs. Created during a Covid-19 lockdown, the film evokes isolation deftly, as well as the sheer relief and joy of human communication. We are social beings, and we hunger for connection, recognition and relating. The film touches upon this truth with honesty and openness. But seeing that vulnerability betrayed in a small but piercing way is painful for Arthur, and for the viewer -- it's not quite dystopian, but piercingly unsettling.

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A reclusive sci-fi enthusiast develops a friendship with a customer service agent. | Lifelike
http://youtu.be/CvOlZ0nOBII
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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Tehrangeles is used with permission from Saumene Mehrdady. Learn more at http://omele.to/3QTFkIz.

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Nima is an Iranian-American teenager celebrating his 17th birthday with a party at home, thrown by his close-knit family. But the traditional celebration irks him -- he'd rather be doing something cooler out and on his own with his friends, who are invited but may or may not come.

His friends do stop by, but they don't stay because they're on their way to another, cooler destination. But when Nima runs into his friendly Mexican neighbor and invites him over, he learns a new appreciation of his heritage -- and just who his real friends are.

Directed by Saumene Mehrdady from a script co-written with Joel Villegas and Kevin Theal, this short family drama immerses viewers intimately in Iranian culture and tradition, but it also captures the universal yearning of a teenager wanting to break out and explore the world on their terms. Teenagers are already often irritated by the seemingly staid traditions of their parents, but Nima’s experience captures the particular complication of straddling two cultures in the generational conflict.

The film opens with the image of blood being washed from the ground, held for a transfixing duration of time. The image invites intrigue, but then the film shifts into its true shape and form: an amiable, warm narrative of coming-of-age realization, told with an easygoing pace and an eye and ear for character, dialogue and relationships. There's a comfortable, lived-in naturalism, capturing Nima in his home environment. It's almost like any comfortable home in suburbia, full of family and celebration. But the details of the traditions -- and the subtle expressions of expectation -- are captured with sensitivity and sometimes ironic humor.

The writing exhibits a sharp strength in its social observation, and how those interactions push and pull within Nima as his family prepares for his birthday party and he waits for his friends to respond to his inquiries. The love and affection of his family are palpable, but Nima experiences their adherence to tradition as stodgy. Actor Keivon Akbari captures both his love and exasperation with his family, epitomizing the second-generation emotional juggling act with subtlety and precision. To Nima, the party is less about him and what he wants, and more an excuse for relatives to get together. In other words, it's lame.

But it's nowhere near as lame as when his friends finally roll by his home; they don't even go inside, but instead invite Nima to join them elsewhere. Nima's disappointment is palpable. But the day redeems itself when he runs into his neighbor Jaime again and invites him to the party. Through Jaime's fresh eyes and perspective, Nima begins to understand his frustrations are shared by others like him, even in different cultures. And he also sees his familial traditions of celebration and hospitality for what they are: warmly welcoming and loving. Bighearted and expansive in spirit and feeling, "Tehrangeles" ends with a toast. But the film isn't just toasting Nima's birthday, but also a newfound richer appreciation for his heritage and the love that surrounds him, no matter what.

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An Iranian-American teen celebrates his 17th birthday. But his 'friends' may not come. | Tehrangeles
http://youtu.be/OjiLmI0GXxg
http://omeleto.com/258555/

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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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The Jester's Song is used with permission from Michael Woloson. Learn more at http://omele.to/3Q48xzV.

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The Rapture has happened, and most of the population has disappeared, leaving behind a desolate, empty world. Those left behind must scavenge, scrap, fight and even kill to survive.

Amid this landscape, a lone scavenger named Thomas makes his way through the world. Pitiless and willing to do anything to survive, he isn't afraid to inflict violence. But when he comes face to face with a remnant of the past, it awakens dormant emotions in him, ones he thought were long forgotten.

Written and directed by Michael Woloson, this short drama riffs on the classic themes of the Western, where people must survive a harsh, dangerous environment, even if the attempts cost them their humanity. Handsomely shot and beautifully crafted, this film has a post-apocalyptic take on the Western genre. Instead of a raw empty West, the landscape is now the ravages of suburbia. But the survivors amidst the decimated dwellings are still as unflinching and merciless as their cinematic predecessors, and as quick to murder and maim.

True to the laconic nature of the genre, the writing features very little dialogue. Much of the film's initial impact comes from its striking evocation of a ravaged, haunted world and economical world-building. Thomas's encounters with the other hard-scrabble scavengers and vagrants are marked by their ruthlessness and silence, as they battle over the dwindling resources around them.

This silence is ruptured, though, when Thomas hears the sound of a guitar strumming in the distance. It alerts him to the sound of another person that might have something he wants or needs. But as he confronts the guitarist, he becomes intrigued by the music. Forcing the musician to play, Thomas's hardened demeanor falls away, a transition captured by actor Joey Bader with a kind of wild, boyish innocence. He reveals a rusty sense of joy at the pure pleasure of hearing a familiar, beloved song -- a sensation that's relatable, and even primal, and one long forgotten in such a world as this.

The music at the heart of "The Jester's Song" is iconic, well-known and beloved. But in this dystopian land, it becomes an ironic, even elegiac comment on what has been lost -- or perhaps what was never achieved, much to society's detriment. The beauty and tragedy of the film are how it captures both the lost beauty and primal happiness that music gives us, but also how fragile joy and happiness are, especially in a cruel, callous, dog-eat-dog world. The end of "The Jester's Song" stays true to its world and vision, for better or worse, and invites questions of just how much humans shape their environment as much as are shaped by it.

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A lone scavenger fights to survive after a massive apocalyptic event. | The Jester's Song
http://youtu.be/63lDVURCJuk
http://omeleto.com/258708/

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CCILydia39
0 Views · 22 days ago

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Face is used with permission from Edward Mac. Learn more at http://omele.to/3HpOLeA.

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One summer in Montreal, a young teen boy is persecuted by older teens in his neighborhood, who have nicknamed him Face. Left to his own devices, he resorts to wearing a mask to hide his visage and takes refuge in watching classic horror films at home.

But after a dare from his tormentors, he decides to enter an abandoned building supposedly menaced by a wild dog. But unbeknownst to the others, he takes matters into his own hands and uses the tricks of horror filmmaking to turn the tables.

Written and directed by Samuel Edward Mac, this dark coming-of-age drama has plenty of suspense and uneasiness, both in its portrayal of a kid's psychological torment at the hands of his peers and his deft usage of cinematic technique to outfox his bullies. Shot in luminous black-and-white, it's a homage to both the enduring craft and appeal of classic horror films, evoked with elegance and dynamism with its sometimes surreal images and the heightened dissonance of its sound design and score. The bullying directed at him makes Face feel like a monster to others, and he likely finds a kinship with the monsters he watches onscreen.

The storytelling itself is economical and to-the-point, keeping a steady pace as it raises the tension and suspense. But when provoked to his breaking point, Face takes matters into his own hands, deciding to give his bullies a taste of their own medicine. He doesn't resort to violence or revenge but instead takes a cue from the films he watches to create an illusion -- his own brand of storytelling magic, so to speak.

Young actor Matis Ross ably portrays the wariness of the hunted and persecuted, his body language tense even when his face is obscured by a mask. But that posture of fear and hiding transforms into a sense of confidence and power, as he finds the inner resourcefulness to stand up for himself.

A selection at Clermont-Ferrand, "Face" is as compelling and striking as its young protagonist, and though he speaks little, he inspires admiration as we watch him use his intelligence and creativity to devise a unique solution to his problems. "Empowerment" is a word that has sometimes devolved into cheap marketing speak, but here it's an apt description of a young person finding the strength and courage to stand up for himself and shed the shame that causes him to hide. The film's final images are those of exhilaration, found in the freedom of being one's self without fear.

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A teenage boy confronts his bullies with the help of a horror movie. | Face
http://youtu.be/S89MbXs52G0
http://omeleto.com/258494/

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