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GET A HORSE!|
Boys on Film X - BLINDERS | BOYS VILLAGE | HEADLONG
A STABLE FOR DISABLED HORSES | TEENS LIKE PHIL | YEAH KOWALSKI!
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last update 5.Dec.13
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E|
|Get a Horse!|
dir Lauren MacMullan|
voices Walt Disney, Marcellite Garner, Russi Taylor, Billy Bletcher, Will Ryan
Beginning as a vintage black-and-white Mickey Mouse short, this brief film wins us over long before it gets gimmicky as Mickey (voice by Disney himself) and Minnie go out for a hayride with their pals, only to be interrupted by mean old cat Peg-Leg Pete, who tries to run them off the road before kidnapping Minnie. But Mickey has a few tricks up his sleeve. The ensuing chase breaks out of the screen into the cinema (in full-colour 3D), with witty mayhem and a series of inventive sight gags that play with the rules of animation. There isn't much else as far as story or character go, just a nonstop parade of slapstick merriment. There's even a Captain America gag. But even if it's all rather pointless, we don't really mind when we're laughing helplessly.
Showing with: FROZEN • 29.Nov.13
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Boys on Film X|
For their 10th collection of gay-themed shorts, the team at Peccadillo have found a bunch of unusually introspective films. Each of them explores a young man who is struggling to make sense of his sexuality in one way or another, and each takes surprising twists and turns along the way. They're all fairly serious this time, and two are artfully confrontational with more explicit sex and nudity than usual.
release UK 25.Nov.13 • 13/UK Peccadillo 3h30 18 themes, language, sexuality, violence • 2.Nov.13
dir-scr Jacob Brown|
with Nathaniel Brown, Byrdie Bell, Luke Worrall
|Moody and sensuous, this darkly thoughtful short is accompanied by the sound of a beating heart as a young man (Brown) questions his sexuality. We first see him with his girlfriend (Bell), but he sneaks away to visit his boyfriend (Worrall), clearly unable to decide what he wants. At one point there's a conversation about how horses keep going forward when they wear blinders even though they can hear everything that they can't see around them. All of this is augmented nicely by Bobby Bukowski's gorgeous cinematography and John Magee's driving piano score. The film is a bit portentous and over-serious, but it's packed with provocative ideas, not least the important question of why this guy has to make a decision.|
|A Stable for Disabled Horses|
dir-scr Fabio R Youniss|
with Daniel Swan, Daniel Simonsen
IRIS PRIZE 2012
Witty and insinuating, this often hilariously funny short centres on the scruffy Benny (Swan), who invites his departing Norwegian work colleague Knut (Simonsen) over for a leaving do. But it's just the two of them, and Knut becomes increasingly worried about Benny's awkward conversation, especially when he presents Knut with a matching T-shirt featuring their pictures as best friends forever. From the start, we feel like Benny is gasping to reveal his inner desire, but simply can't get the words our, so he hilariously rambles on about all kinds of nonsense, including his dream about opening a stable that lets disabled horses be what they want to be. Knut clearly likes Benny, but is also deeply unnerved by all of this attention, which at times devolves into drunken rants. The film is nicely shot in black and white with witty camerawork and editing. The performances are wonderfully edgy, drawing out the humour in the smart and amusing script. And they also punch the emotional moments perfectly. It's a surprisingly involving little film that never does what we expect.
|Headlong Corps Perdu|
dir-scr Lukas Dhont|
with Jelle Florizoone, Thomas Coumans, Willem-Jan Sas, Emiel Vandenverghe
|Shot like a feature with very high production values, which short centres on 16-year-old dancer Miller (Florizoone), who's away from home for a ballet competition. Alone in his hotel room, he's startled by a loud knock on the door, after which an older young man, Jerome (Coumans), rushes into the room, hiding from the police. Miller is intrigued by this interruption from his dull routine, and follows Jerome when he leaves. Jerome is furious, but gives in and takes Miller out drinking and dancing, clearly the best night of his young life. The film is sumptuously shot and edited to get us into Miller's perspective, augmented by an open, involving, remarkably subtle performance from the talented Florizoone (he and Coumans also starred together in the feature North Sea Texas). As the story progresses and their interaction shifts, we never have a clue where this unlikely friendship will go next. And the hint of sexuality is delicate and haunting.|
dir-scr Till Kleinert|
with Benjamin Thorne, Andrew McQueen, Hannah-Rose Jones, Jack Jones, Lewis Coster, Owain Collins, Ryan Ellis, Jon Pountney
In an abandoned holiday camp, built for Welsh coalmining families but long abandoned, 11-year-old Kevin (Thorne) roams around the rubble, chatting to the air. Dressed in old-style clothes, he's clearly lost here, haunting a place that's fallen into ruin and only visited by a gang of rowdy teen boys who smash anything they can find, sniff glue and taunt each other. Kevin hides and watches them, taking special note of one of the boys (McQueen) who seems a bit more perceptive. And when he returns with a girl (Jones), Kevin scares her off. But things take an unexpected turn for both boys. This is strikingly well-shot and edited, with an introspective tone and some cleverly mystical elements that add creep-out touches. But it's also mopey and meandering, repetitive and a little pointless. We are gripped as we watch to see what might happen, and indeed there is a series of pay-offs. But it's all so dark and gloomy that we're kind of glad when it ends.
|Teens Like Phil|
dir-scr Dominic Haxton, David Rosler|
with Adam Donovan, Jake Robbins, Virginia Bartholomew, Ken Burmeister, Margie Ferris, Bart Shatto, Kelly Waters, Collin Leydon
This dreamlike short continually wrong-foots us by editing scenes out of sequence, cutting around the story in a way that makes piecing the story together a bit of a challenge. But it's nicely made, and evokes strong feelings along the way, even when it begins to feel somewhat preachy. Phil (Donovan) is a teen who is being taunted at school by the other students for being gay. His main persecutor is Adam (Robbins), who earlier made a move on him but turned nasty to protect his own image. Phil's teacher (Bartholomew) is full of misplaced concern: she's worried that Phil isn't accepting his sexuality, but is oblivious about how brutally he's being harassed. Pushed into a corner, Phil can only think of one way out. There are some very strong scenes along the way, although the fragmented structure undermines any emotional momentum, and some elements feel random and unnecessary (such as Burmeister's odd appearance as Phil's homeless "Uncle Mike"). There's also an audio track featuring academic lectures about self-image, identity and sexuality, stressing the importance of everything. In other words, this is a super-cautionary tale about the need to take on the culture of cruelty. And while it's far too pointed, it's worth a look for its internalised approach.
dir Evan Roberts|
scr Evan Roberts, Britta Lundin
with Cameron Wofford, Conor Donnelly, Kaitlyn Knippers, Anamarie Kasper, Chris Doubek, Consuelo Allen
This colourfully comical short opens with a teacher (Allen) encouraging her students to ask anything about puberty. Gabe (Wofford) is curious about why he doesn't have any underarm hair yet, but everyone just laughs. Desperate to impress his classmate Shane (Donnelly) at another student's birthday party, Gabe glues cut hair to his armpits before heading to the party with his best pal Veronica (Knippers). Then he discovers that it's a pool party. All of this is played for broad comedy, with continually wacky touches as we watch this pre-teen's desperation to grow up more quickly than his body will allow. Intriguingly, his sexuality is never an issue: he's open from the start. The issue is his burgeoning adolescence, and of course the film's only message is about being honest about yourself and letting nature take its course. It's all rather simplistic, but is also amusing. And it does touch a nerve.
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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall