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The Chaotic Melody of Tina is just as the title suggests: a chaotic mix of poetry and images of meth, sex, and blood. And perhaps this is just what the directors, David Anderson and Aaron Perra, tried to convey with this one-minute 43-second film.
The short is presented as a visual poem, the poem being written by Perra, with Perra doubling as the lead actor. The images are very strong, and the use of blood is disturbing and stays throughout the film.
As the main character fluctuates between the use of meth (here referenced as "Tina"), having sex, and attempting self-harm, we're left to wonder if the film is only there to provoke the audience. In fact, the picture is almost a photograph of what is true at that moment; the state of confusion the man is in. No allusions to a possible future, no hint of his past life. Just a bare and brutal image of the present.
The writing is good. However, it's overshadowed by the images and the sound. The direction and the editing could have guided the poem with a bit more harmony, that way they would have lent more clarity to the text.
Perra is also narrating the poem, but regrettably, the quality of the sound makes the narration, at times, almost unintelligible.
A raw short with a splatter aesthetic that’s definitely not for everyone.
The title states it clearly, this 3-minute documentary is about the Twin Cities Pride, the annual celebration in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The event never took place in 2020, and this film shows the impact of that on the local LGBTQ+ community.
The community is here represented by one man, dressed in a black t-shirt and dark shorts, wandering around Minneapolis in the middle of the pandemic, just to find all the bars, clubs, and venues, closed and empty.
The shots of the deserted city are alternated with photos of the past Pride events, showing great contrast between the colors and joy of happier times with the stillness and dullness of the current events. We can feel the nostalgia in the main character’s eyes.
The film score is moody and touching, and the music performance is good and brings sadness to the whole film. The handheld camera mirrors the sense of uncertainty of the man about what will the future be like.
The director, David Anderson, doesn’t offer us a solution, or a particular perspective on this issue. A more specific point of view from the director would have been appreciated.
But works like these are ever so important because they raise awareness on how some global events have more impact — both physically and mentally — on certain communities, especially the most marginalized ones.
Patricia Delso Lucas is writing, directing, and producing this suggestive and thought-provoking LGBTQ short film. The film investigates the life of a middle-aged man, who lived all his life afraid of not being accepted for who he really is.
The conflict of the film is revealed right away in Al Nazemian’s narration: Oscar can’t bear to live a life full of lies anymore. He has everything but doesn’t feel anything. As much as he tries to engage with the two courtesans, he can’t seem to find any true interest in them. But when his gardener shows up, Oscar’s face lights up.
Al Nazemian’s Oscar is desperate, clinging to life but hopeless in doing so, while Riggsby Lane’s Jude is distant, calm, and rational. The dichotomy of the two characters is very powerful. There is also a contrast between the huge mansion, with its glorious gardens, and its complete emptiness. The rooms are empty, and, apart from his maid, Oscar is completely alone.
The film has a great production value, all the details are very well thought out and curated. The costumes are gorgeous and the music is evocative and gives us a sense of urgency and anguish.
Patricia Delso Lucas is directing in a way that we don’t know what is true and what is a dream. And unfortunately, Oscar’s reality is exactly that: a mix of all of his worst fears, coming to life and preventing him to love and being loved.
The reference to the doctor, together with the appearance of his mother, is especially powerful. “No doctors, I said!” shouts desperately Oscar, trying to convince Jude that he isn’t sick. We can only imagine that his mother might have attempted to convert him early on in his life, a detrimental practice that regrettably originated precisely in the 19th century.
The film is powerful, terribly sad, and very true at the same time. We wonder if things have really changed since the 19th century for the LGBTQ communities and if it will ever be acceptable to find beauty in everyone, despite their sex
Directed by Paul Arthur Rothman
Girl on the Ledge follows a young woman, Ana Bauman, who searches for the meaning of life through her own art.
The feature film directed by Paul Arthur Rothman revolves around Ana, a young and promising photographer, whose life was drained by finding the love of her life, and a successful job, too early in her life. She starts obsessing about finding her own truth and creating the most meaningful work possible.
Her husband, an older photographer, seems to be better at handling the truth of his past failures than she is, so when he challenges both to finally create the life they were meant to live, while Harry flourishes in becoming a painter — and finds a new muse too — Ana gets lost in a spiral of neglect, lack of self-esteem, and abandonment.
Ana is now fixated, desperate for seeking the truth behind others, but gets lost in looking at her own truth. Maybe Ana is looking for something that wasn’t there in the first place?
Young Ana opens and closes the film, with images of her, a young girl in a flowy dress, standing by the ledge of a building, making her look like she’s going to jump off. Almost like a bird in captivity ready to fly away.
Or maybe young Ana is there to warn older Ana that something will go terribly wrong in her life?
The acting is believable, Irina Abraham has the extremely difficult task of carrying the whole movie on her bare shoulders, and she does a good job. She is also adequately detached to the text, which makes her character look concerning enough without being dramatic. Pascal Yen-Pfister, who plays Harry Bauman, is perfectly cast and a very strong actor.
The film is enjoyable and pleasant to watch, despite the dramatic topics discussed. It raises many questions, especially on the role of others when a fragile soul such as Ana’s gets lost and can’t find her way back. Should her friends and her ex husband have been there for her more? Or was her abandonment justified by the fact that she is the one who ultimately refused everybody’s help?
The direction is experienced and well executed, the cinematography alternates long closeups to more dynamic shots, which help transition between Ana's thoughts and the alienating surroundings she lives in.
On an aesthetic note, both makeup and wardrobe could have been more eclectic, considering that both Ana and Harry were living in the fashion world after all. It would have been nice to see a comprehensive transformation in Ana's presence — including her style and her hair — and not only a change in the paleness of her face and the thinness of her figure, which was almost too subtle and difficult to trace at times.
All things considered, a powerful and touching work. This film was unfortunately released posthumously, as the director sadly passed away in 2018, but I believe it has been brilliantly taken over by his son Ben Rothman, who is also the producer of the film.
Here, father and son prove to have been a well-oiled machine in this beautiful and earnest piece.
A world turned around is a provoking 1-minute experimental film by Johanne Chagnon, where men are in captivity and the animals are the ones free of existence.
The film opens with a shadow of a body performing an agonizing dance behind a screen, and right away, we get this feeling of anguish. The image zooms out and the screen is now divided into 4 panels: the ground is covered with a bloody and uneven red color and left and right appears the same scene of nature: first trees, then water flowing, then moving animals.
In this film, nature is imposing, while the person is unglorified, seemingly in distress.
Humans, placed in between the two panels showing nature, and right above the red floor, almost seem to be using the stream of blood to create a fracture within nature. In fact, it is true that we reside on our planet but we aren’t following its rules, by abusing nature and creating death and devastation for our very own benefit.
It’s not by chance that the sound is mainly composed of nature sounds. It’s almost an indication that however we try to control our planet, nature will always be stronger — thus louder — than us.
But is Chagnon suggesting that justice can be achieved by enclosing human beings in a dimension that is parallel to nature, with the two never touching each other so that the former won’t be able to destroy the latter? Or is she suggesting that nature is meant to take over, leaving people behind?
The interpretation is entirely left to the audience here.
Chagnon mentions an inequitable world as her source of inspiration, and this is exactly what we are witnessing in this film: a dual world that perhaps will never find its harmony.
HUNGRY EYES is a 5-page long horror script written by Jason John Cicalese.
An original and straightforward story, written entirely with one voice, the old man’s. As a matter of fact, the two other characters, two young kids gagged and tied to chairs, don’t have a voice at all, as they are the mere object of the man’s opto-culinary quest.
Is being young and at the prime of their lives what they’re truly guilty of?
It’s not a chance that the old man, described as “heavy-set” and “balding”, is the one wanting to deprive the teenagers of their sight, the most important sense in a society that rewards appearance and youthfulness.
A social criticism that exposes the neglect of older people, who spend their whole lives being productive and making a name for themselves, only to find themselves close to retirement, with nothing more than a handful of memories.
The script has a great texture, it’s cooked in a deep message and it’s seasoned with cruel horror scenes: a perfect recipe, remarkably executed!
(Corona) Viral Monologues by Claire Chubbuck is a 50-minute experimental film that follows the emotional journey of 30 characters dealing with the surge of the pandemic in what looks like a mix between scripted film and documentary.
This artistic expression, shot in isolation, is structured along the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
A powerful performance – at times overacted, at times underacted – that displays the emotional rollercoaster of going through a traumatic and cathartic event. What’s interesting is to see how, little by little, their own past comes back to haunt them and how they’re now left to face it, whether it’s a drinking problem, a broken relationship with their mother, or an eating disorder.
The soundtrack of this film is stripped-down, the music is only used when truly essential which makes the picture feel light and airy, while the editing mixes up voices with faces they don’t belong to, splits sentences in half, and conveys an overall sense of psychological confusion.
As this touching film comes to an end we are left to feel – yes – empathy for the characters, but also comfort in knowing we are all in this together.