JWR Articles: Film/DVD - PSIFF Short Fest 2018 - United States (Directors: Emily Ann Hoffman, J.M. Logan, Mariama Diallo, Mary Neely) - June 30, 2018
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PSIFF Short Fest 2018 - United States

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Reviewed at the 2018 edition of the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival.
Four widely differing films

From the near-sublime to the ridiculous. Here’s a set of films that fuels hope and despair.

Nevada
Emily Ann Hoffman, USA
13 minutes, Four stars

Pull out, or savour the moment

Hoffman’s richly crafted stop action animated short is a wonderful slice of near conception (or not), when intimacy between Zoe and Eli suffers a family planning wardrobe malfunction.

With courageously honest body parts dangling in the breeze, clad in saran-wrap-like looking skin, the overarching feeling of humanity exuded by the lovers is palpable.

Would that all new lives—potentially joining the human race—have this much love shown from the get-go.

 

Lunch Ladies
J.M. Logan, USA
19 minutes, Three stars

Little Shop of Horrors in a pie shell

With so many reality shows flooding the airwaves—many, such as Iron Chef and The Great British Baking Show focusing on culinary expertise—Logan has crafted a food-driven comedy that is a farce of the highest/lowest order (depending on your point of view) but which can’t hold a candle to the masters of humour-by-wafer, Monty Python’s Flying Circus’s Mr. Creosote’s famous sketch.

The “Ladies” slog away in Melvinville’s high school cafeteria, eking out a living literally serving up slop (accompanied by Prokofiev no less, which left a bad taste in my mouth). Fortuitously, they have won a cooking contest whose prize involves a Johnny Depp concert. However, the spatula-flailing duo (Seretta, an over-the-top performance by Donna Pieroni and LouAnne—a much more serene sidekick, well done by Mary Manofsky) still have to earn their airfare in order to cash in on their success.

With the possibility of being fired if they can’t score a hit on the next “Surprise Friday” offering at their place of employment, Seretta literally takes the plunge to smart-ass bimbo Alexis (Daisy Kershaw) whose bits and pieces are cooked up to a T, enticing a food sensation for the ages.

Antoni March’s original score readily works its way into the cannibalistic pies, but by the time the dishes are done, Logan’s inability to tone down the grossness by half (what is the purpose of a “suck my cock” graffiti sign in the early going?) leaves the potential for 5-star humour in the “reduced to sell” bin.

 

Hair Wolf
Mariama Diallo, USA
12 minutes, Two stars

Big hairy deal or The Braidy Bunch

Yet another fun possibility goes down the drain. An ultra-white monster girl in search of her black braids (and a few slices of dark meat on the side), never quite, er, gels. The scream is as false as the joyful pickup.

What has happened to biting satire?

 

Pink Trailer
Mary Neely, USA
9 minutes, One and one half stars

Never have I ever…

Never have I ever been waiting so long for a joke in a comedy.

The premise (two best girlfriends hiding from an apparent off-the-wall male neighbour—gaily sporting Pride colours around his neck) never catches fire, much less tickle anyone’s funny bone. Unseen Grandma adds a bit of welcome relief. JWR

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