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last update 6.Nov.10
Coyote Falls   3.5/5  
dir Matthew O'Callaghan
10/US Warner 3m
coyote and road runner
showing with cats & dogs 2 Road Runner and Wile E Coyote are back for an all-new 3D romp involving a bridge, a bungee cord and a pile of birdseed. What could go wrong? Of course, the poor coyote is doomed from the start to a series of rather violent indignations while the cheeky bird leads him into harm's way. Compared to the classic Warner Bros shorts, this one feels a little thin, but it's so much fun seeing these characters on the big screen again that we can't help but smile.


Day & Night   5/5
dir Teddy Newton
10/US Pixar 6m
day and night
showing with toy story 3 A fresh visual and narrative approach immediately sets this film apart from other Pixar shorts, sharply combining hand-drawn animation with their more traditional computer-rendered style. It's the comical story of two guys who meet and are immediately suspicious of each other: Day is full of sunny images, while Night is darker and murkier. As Day tries to gloat about his joyous landscapes, Night impresses with sexy skylines. And there are some great surprises in store for both of them. What's most remarkable is that, without any dialog at all, the filmmakers have created a beautiful expression of tolerance and understanding. Simply breathtaking.

19.Jun.10 eiff

Small-time Revolutionary   4/5
dir-scr Miikka Leskinen
with Alexander Barnes, Ceridwen Smith, Carol Holt, John Albasiny, Jaleh Alp, Danny Chan, Daniel Norford voices Ian McKellen, Michael Cashman
10/UK 18m
small-time revolutionary In 1988 England, Russell (Barnes) is straining against the pressures of harsh Thatcherite policies. He also hasn't told anyone that he thinks he might be gay. His parents (Albasiny and Holt) are pretty oblivious, caught in their own smaller obsessions, and they barely register when he joins the revolutionary group The Kants, which is taking a stand against the anti-gay Section 28. But his comrades also urge him to come out to his parents. The film is shot and edited with skill, and the fresh cast members are subtle and engaging. But what makes the film work so well is its refusal to preach, even with the highly emotional issues at stake. It's also one of those nice shorts that leaves us with something to think about; essentially, this is only the start of Russell's story.


Identity Crisis   2/5
dir Valera Eremenko
10/UK 25m
identity crisis
identity crisis Made in Wales, this cleverly plotted film has some very nice moments, but it feels amateurish at every level, which leaves it emotionally flat. After being viciously assaulted in the street, a handsome man wakes up in hospital with no memory of who he is. His nurse names him John, and clearly falls for him as she helps him recover. But then, he's muscled and so gorgeous that she can hardly believe her luck. Sure enough, the flamboyantly gay Sam eventually identifies John as Mikey, the most famous drag queen in town. But Mikey isn't sure that's who he wants to be. However contrived, it's a terrific idea to explore masculinity through a character who reluctantly has to discover and accept who he is. So it's a shame that the film's script and performances are stiff and soapy. The only vaguely believable character is Sam, and he's so over the top that he borders on caricature. The others are just bland and a bit mopey. Meanwhile, director Eremenko uses gimmicky camera work, cheesy music (including I've Never Been to Me) and a repetitive structure that completely undermines the potential of the premise. Most perplexing is how he even misses the key Cinderella moment when Mikey finds one of his stilettos.

9.Oct.10 iris

back to the top R E V I E W S   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Iris Prize Festival 4th Iris Prize Festival
The 30 shorts in competition for the Iris Prize. Cardiff, 4-9.Oct.10 (page 1 of 4)
The Samaritan 4.5/5   Samaritanen
dir-scr Magnus Mork
with Terje Tjome Mossige, Sharam Khalifeh
10/Norway 29m
mossige and khalifeh

Iris Prize 2010

the samaritan This half-hour short has such strong production values and such a fully formed story that it feels like a feature film. Even after it ends, it seems like we've spent a lot more than 29 minutes with these complex, engaging characters - two men who simply don't do what we expect them to do. Knut (Mossige) is a queeny middle-aged man who runs into an Arab guy, Mirza (Khalifeh), in his office car park. He seems friendly enough, so Knut offers to let him stay on his sofa. After Knut suggests that Mirza should marry him to get a resident visa, Mirza is polite and aloof, realising that Knut is hoping that he turns out to be gay. And over the days that follow a tentative friendship develops, even though each of the men clearly has different expectations. Where this goes is twisty and surprising, mainly because of what it shows us about the characters and the way they relate to each other. Along the way there are scenes that are hilarious and cute, and also touching and darkly dramatic. The actors are utterly believing in the roles, which require a whole range of interaction, both spoken and unspoken. And the story's conclusion challenges us to put ourselves in their shoes, even if we don't like what we see.
Mosa   4.5/5
dir Ana Moreno
scr Victoria Pilkington
with Isaura Barbe-Brown, Jordan Page, Marva Alexander, Eric Kolelas, Diana Yekinni, Ty Bankinson
10/UK 15m

Best UK Short
Iris Prize 2010

mosa With a swirling collage of imagery and interactions, Moreno creates a powerfully emotional exploration of one woman's inner turmoil. It's not so much about the plot as giving us a feel for her experience, but as the events come into focus it's shattering. Mosa (Barbe-Brown) is a model in London struggling to come to terms with her past in Johannesburg, where she was viciously raped in an effort to correct her sexuality. We get this story in tiny snippets as she is photographed in a trendy studio - just glimpses of her encounter with her mother, a cousin and a woman she falls in love with. The confusing jumble of scenes only makes us feel her disorientation that much more strongly. And we also get a real sense of Mosa's feisty inner spirit, a refusal to give in to the pressures of her home country and a resilience that will see her adapt to this new life. It's very strong stuff, lushly shot and edited to highlight Barbe-Brown's raw beauty and defiant survivor's attitude.
Watch Over Me   4.5/5  
dir-scr Mysh
with Guy Kapulnik, Zvika Forman, Davidi Hoffman, Omri Tessler, Raz Weiner
10/Israel 14m

Special Mention:
Iris Prize 2010

Watch Over Me This dark, unsettling thriller is continually surprising, and not least because it signals the arrival of an inventively talented young filmmaker. The story centres on Eitan (Kapulnik), who has just survived a particularly harrowing round in his training to join a secret military unit. And there's more to come, as the tough-guy commander (Forman) pushes him to put his training into practice in the streets. Eitan is more than a little reticent, mainly because the target is a man (Hoffman) with whom he has a mutual attraction. Where this film goes from here is completely unpredictable, as it continually shifts genres right to the startling conclusion. Filmmaker Mysh's background as an animator shows in the striking imagery, as the much of the action takes place on a murky night in the back streets of Tel Aviv. And everything from the photography, design, music and editing are expertly done to draw us into the story and leave us shaken by the final scenes. And even more intriguing is how the film has a potent political subtext, with violent prejudice about ethnicity and sexuality gurgling right under the surface. Well, not that far underneath, perhaps.

A L S O   I N
A T   I R I S
The Armoire

The Armoire
Jamie Travis
(reviewed at the 24th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival)


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