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Don’t Cry is a 9-minute computer-animated short film by Palestinian director and animator Hisham Zreiq. The film is about a Palestinian man, a Palestinian girl, and an Israeli Woman, all meeting in a beautiful and peaceful place by a pond, the water filled with wild plants and birds.
The little girl is sitting on the dock waiting as the man arrives by boat, confused to see the girl. Later, a second boat arrives with the Israeli woman on it. The woman seems to be deeply disturbed to see the man. The man doesn’t want to speak to the woman, the woman refuses to speak to the man, and the little girl, in the middle, tries to reconcile the two.
The film speaks loudly about the ongoing Palestinian/Israeli conflict. A plot twist towards the end of the film shows how the three characters were in fact directly involved in two attacks: an Israeli attack on a Palestinian school, and one Palestinian attack on an Israeli bus.
The 5-minute short is of course a simplification of the dynamics of the conflict, which works thanks to the presence of the child. The conflict is almost filtered through the eyes of the little girl. As a matter of fact, for the victims implicated in the bloody conflict, it doesn’t matter who started what and who did what to whom. All that matters is that, if anger and vengeance don’t serve any purpose once we are all dead, why should they have a place while we’re still alive?
The film perfectly encapsulates the concept of an eye for an eye, and how the conflict as we see it today — especially in the wake of one of Hamas attacks on Isreal — is really a snowball effect, a desire for a never-ending retaliation. People and countries can keep reacting to violence with more violence, and peace will be achieved only once everyone is dead. “Don’t cry. Now, we’re all dead” says the little girl, almost as if finding solace in the eternal state where nothing can harm her anymore.
The animation is cold and mechanic, but the poignant plot and the intense voice-over work make up for it. The story is simple, yet extremely effective. The characters all have a fundamental role in this parallel world made of sadness and grief.
A film like this is now as important as ever, as it highlights how, in the conflict, the most vulnerable groups of people are the ones who suffer the most.
A moving short that definitely leaves you with a ton of questions and doubts about how much we really know about each country, after all.
CANCER/EVOLUTION Episode 1- The Dustbin of History is the first episode of a 5-part docu-series directed by Maggie Jones and Brad Jones, focusing on the metabolic theory of cancer. The theory is told through the life and work of Nobel laureate scientist Otto Warburg.
The idea for this documentary starts from the research of director Maggie Jones about the metabolic theory after having been diagnosed with a 4th stage lung cancer — one of the most aggressive cancers, as well as most difficult to diagnose. Lung cancer is in fact the leading cause of cancer death in the US, with more people dying from lung cancer than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
The theory is not well known, doctors and hospitals are skeptical to share information about it, and since — unlike conventional treatment — his theory is not based on actual pharmaceuticals, the lack of financial support behind it makes it a difficult theory to test and trial.
The first episode of this documentary is very informative, the direction is clear and the editing is fast-paced and rigorous. The information is abundant but never redundant.
Documentaries like these are supposed to challenge the system, to provide an alternative perspective to what is fed to us by the media and big corporations. And CANCER/EVOLUTION achieves that goal brilliantly and effectively.
Anyone who is interested in medical documentaries, as well as those who are actively seeking a complementary route to traditional medicine, will find this series highly resourceful and full of hope.
Maggie and Brad Jones saw a lack of information surrounding this oncological disease and decided they needed to fill that gap. The series succeeds in educating the audience about a possibly effective cure, far from the solutions offered by Big Pharma.
Two Point O is a short film written by Aaron Joshua, who also stars in it and co-produces and co-directs it with David Anderson.
The film is about achieving an improved version of ourselves, a 2.0 version of Aaron Joshua’s self through the prospect of getting sober. Joshua is in fact portraying himself as trying to overcome his own addictions.
The narrating voice is reading a poem, illustrated by Anderson’s alternated images of addicts and nature. At times ingenue, Joshua’s voice is filled with hope, friendship, and desire for a brighter future. By giving up on despair for a “joyful expression”, Joshua compares getting sober to “grow and mature” and finally being “the one wearing the crown”.
Joshua’s words are labile and scattered. It’s hard to follow the poetry flow because of its continued interruption and sound overlapping. At the same time, Anderson’s camera is casual, shaky, and unruly, and the editing is a bit rough.
The final production fails to convey the real and profound struggle of the main character and ends up keeping all images and metaphors on a superficial level.
All in all, an important and deep message, inattentively wrapped in a vague package.
The Eclipse: Recognized by the Sound is a 14-minute film by Elly Yae Li Cho. The first thing that strikes the eye is the screen, split into three mini screens. At the same time, the three mini-screens take up only a third of the entire screen, creating an ultra-wide effect.
The three images, next to each other, force the audience to use their imagination to combine the three shots and create the full picture in their heads.
What do these images represent? Maybe a thought, a memory? Or is it what the character is seeing? Or what they feel? We’re not sure, and that’s the real brilliance of this film! The director shows us that we don't need to know the story in order to understand it.
The cinematography is gorgeous and evocative. The contrast between the beautiful images and the raw sounds makes the scenes look surreal, almost dreamlike.
In fact, there are no dialogues in Cho’s short, only sounds of nature. Sounds of steps, of birds, of water. And the two characters, the young girl and the young boy, look like two animals in their natural habitat.
The underwater scenes are beautifully shot. With this film, Cho proves to have a very strong aesthetic and to work really well with it to create an image, and through it, a story.
An artistic and evocative film that will make the audience’s mind wonder and wander.
Call of The City is a 13-minute thriller film written, directed, and produced by Owen Thomas Meinert.
Through a title card, the director clarifies at the very beginning that the film is only an excerpt from a feature-length script.
The story takes place in one room and shows two characters — a man and a woman — sitting on a bed and having a dialogue. We don’t know what happens before this scene, but the camera shows pretty soon some blood stains on the man’s shirt. However, the woman doesn’t seem to be bothered by them and is rather amused by the man, thinking he’s an unusual, introverted, and rather calm guy.
The suspenseful music and dark coloring of the film suggest that something is going to happen very soon to either one of the two characters.
The actress is good in her role, however, the overall energy of the film is very low. The action scene is poorly shot, there is no tension built up, no suspense, and no fighting-for-they-lives situation. The cinematography is average, the ending shot is crooked and it doesn’t seem to be made on purpose.
The film is surely interesting as we’re left wondering what kind of life led the man to become this way, and we’d love to know what would happen to him next.
An intriguing short thriller that could benefit from a more experienced crew.
Beginner’s Luck is a black and white thriller short directed by Thomas Peck.
The film opens with two men receiving a delivery. The two convince the delivery guy to join them for what looks like a casual night between the two friends.
It’s soon clear that the two men are rich and bored, and the only thing able to give them a thrill is betting big bucks. So the three start playing a game that will end in a life-and-death bet with the oblivious delivery guy.
The idea is original. The two guys bet that they can’t convince a random passer-by to kill one of the two by the end of the night. So they set up the unfortunate delivery guy, who will soon fall for their trap and will happily join them in their dangerous game.
The acting is bare and essential and works for the purpose of the film. The editing and the sound design are very good and the direction is sharp.
The choice of shooting in black and white mirrors the duality of life and death. There are no nuances in this film, and like the delivery guy — who lives to pay the bills — and the two hotshots — rich enough to play with other people’s lives — there is only black or white, life or death.
A good work that makes us reflect on the value of life, and on how the underprivileged are often used as commodities to increase the power of the wealthy.
Twin Cities Pride 2020 is a short documentary directed by David Anderson. The film explores the city of Minneapolis after the announcement that the Twin Cities Pride was canceled in 2020 due to the surge of the pandemic.
Anderson’s handheld camera is following a man walking around the LGBT destinations in Minneapolis, only to find them closed and empty. The shots are accompanied by evocative, quite sentimental music, which suits the film very well.
The editing is good, with shots of the city subtly alternating with close-ups of the man, as well as archive photos of what we can assume were Minneapolis’ past prides. So now, instead of the colorful and joyous images of the Pride, the actual reality is grey, the venues are closed and the city is empty.
And the sounds of the street, alternating with the score of the film, help the director to achieve a duality. The duality between the Twin Cities Pride happening in 2020, and the actual reality of the man’s lives.
But apart from the suggestive shots of the man walking in the city, nothing more is revealed throughout the film. There isn’t a true arc in this film, which might leave the audience a bit puzzled by the exact message of the director.
However, the director succeeds in making us feel the desolation of the LGBT community. Which leaves us to think: without events like the Pride, what happens to the LGBT community in one of the most LGBT-friendly states in the Midwest?
L Section is a 114-page script written by Matthew Forbes that narrates the journey of a sergeant who visits the five soldiers of her former section after their homecoming.
The script starts with sergeant Vivian Kolt, called The Sarge, and her five elite soldiers — who together form the L section — taking a break from climbing a mountain in Afghanistan and sharing their meal packs. The reader can already appreciate two things here: not often is the main character in a war movie a woman, and very rarely do war films open with light scenes of soldiers poking fun at each other.
Through this initial scene we understand that this film won’t be about the war, but rather, about the close relationships between the six characters.
Following a brutal fight scene, where an ambush leaves one soldier, Dud, injured to both his legs, the 6 soldiers are now able to fly back to their respective homes, scattered all around Canada.
Now home and safe, The Sarge is tormented by nightmares and, incited by her sister, she embarks on a road trip to go check on her section. The Sarge's road trip is punctuated with five stops, one for each of her soldiers. Soon enough, the script will reveal that The Sarge’s concerns were, in fact, founded.
Vivian’s character is a tough one, but shows great empathy and vulnerability. There have been many scenes before where male sergeants check on their soldiers, take care of them, but to have a woman is so important: the fact that woman is actually the strongest fighter of them all gives a fresh perspective to what is usually considered a male-dominated organization. This also creates a very protective and nurturing relationship between the six, with The Sarge being like an older sister to the five men, almost maternal, and this adds some beautiful and profound nuances to the story.
What we find out towards the end of the script, is that the reason all 6 characters had troubles recovering from their time in war was actually not related to what happened during the war itself, but rather, the war allowed the traumas from the past to resurface.
This script shows a striking paradox: here the war and the real world swap places, with the real world being the one creating the psychological damages and the war being the one that’s able to fix those damages. All this, thanks to a close camaraderie and a complete and total acceptance of each other.
A beautifully written and engaging script about a powerful healing journey.
Yes, Darling! is a short film written and directed by Stanislav Shelestov and produced by Alexandra Tomilina. The film stars Vladimir Galimov as Gosha, a mild-mannered and average-looking photographer, and Olga Listratova as Galya, his beautiful and intimidating wife.
One evening, after a series of verbal abuses, Gosha gathers all of his strength and finally decides to end his toxic marriage.
After a series of unfortunate accidents, Gosha's wife turns out dead, much to his dismay. Gosha is initially reluctant to conceal the accidental death, but when a now-dead Galya ridicules and criticizes his every action, he decides that his only chance not to end up in prison is to cover up what looks like a cold-blooded murder.
A phone call with Gosha’s mother glues the pieces of the film together. In a flashback, we see that everything that happened so far was a creation of Gosha’s deluded and twisted mind and that, in reality, the couple had been divorced for two days, with Galya being the one to actually end the relationship.
The split narrative is a great way of showing the events from the eyes of the killer, which is what makes this psychological film so scary. What looks to us like a brutal murder might be, from the murderer’s perspective, a mere “accident”, something that happened in spite of him and not because of him.
It's distressing how the film shows that monsters can really present themselves as normal and average people, on the outside as well as on the inside of their minds — so much so that even the perpetrator can’t see himself as a criminal — and only reveal their true selves to just one person.
A brilliantly directed and well-acted short film — thought-provoking enough — that will get the audience glued to the screen for 25 minutes.