JWR Articles: Film/DVD - PSIFF 2019 Short Fest - Opening Night (Directors: Frank Tadaro, Frank Ychou, Loris Cavalier, Camille Jalabert, Oscar Malet, Louis Delva, Yves Piat, Léo Brunel) - June 20, 2019
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PSIFF 2019 Short Fest - Opening Night

4.5 4.5

Reviewed at the 2019 edition of the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival.
Some gold amidst the silver

The Opening Night film’s for Short Fest’s 25th anniversary offered a fine example of the strength of the programmers and filmmakers alike.

Men of Vision
USA, 22 min.
Frank Todaro
Four and one half stars

The father of invention

Todaro has come up with a fanciful tale of a fading inventor (Aaron Serotsky playing Hubert Moss with savvy aplomb, whether discovering the latest life saver or magnetically ending one) whose luck seems to turn when newcomer genius, Walter Belvue (done up with wonderful innocence and naiveté by Bryan Burton) shows up with a covey of future wonders (an “enclosure” device, a.k.a. zipper, Q-tips and Band-Aids—to name but a few) that show the senior inventor that he is most certainly not everything that his own press releases report. What follows is an incredible partnership that brings a young boy’s vision (“a flying train”) to more reality than anyone could have foreseen.

The closing scene is a marvelous cautionary story that ought to remind one and all of the universal mantra, “in being first to discover anything: trust no one.” JWR


The Name of the Son
France, 10 min.
Louis Delva
Four stars

What’s in a Name?

These brief ten minutes explore a lot of ideas, inventiveness and prejudices as Tina (Anne Mariuin—entirely engaging) and Fred (Lionel Abelanski shows a fine range of emotions) struggle with agreeing on the perfect name for their son. From Anatol (too anal) to Thorgal (a great aha moment, there), the film’s payoff (with a smile for the ages) is a welcome addition to the notion of accepting our children just as they are—not as we might wish them to be. JWR


Artem Silendi
France, 4 min.
Frank Ychou
Four stars

A salty vow of silence

Bookended by D.y.E’s “She’s Bad: (she is), Ychou’s dialogue empty tale of a haughty Mother Superior and her “fishy” charges, makes a number of subliminal points about life in a convent and She Who Must Be Obeyed. The snippet of “Are We Like Sheep” also speaks volumes. JWR


Hors Piste
France, 6 min.
Léo Brunel, Loris Cavalier, Camille Jalabert, Oscar Male
Four stars

Rescue from Hell

Here’s a fun bit of animated adventure that artfully explains just how the best of intentions can result in disaster for all concerned. Who could imagine losing a helicopter? Or being launched into space without a vehicle? Or leaving the hapless rescuee to the elements and possibly the wolves? Mountaineering never seemed so dangerous from those intended to be saviours, causing their client the pummeling of a lifetime! JWR


Nefta Football Club
France, 17 min.
Yves Piat
Four and one half star

A soap opera for the ages

Piat has skillfully brought together a wondrous narrative that features a headphone wearing donkey, confusion with Adele’s and Hadèl’s music, laundry soap that most certainly won’t clean anything, the universal sport of soccer and the universal notion of “greed will set us free.” What a marvelous coincidence that this film appears in the same year as Clint Eastwood’s The Mule (great to see his acting skills, but the plot leaves a lot to be desired…).

Do make tracks to the Tunisian/Algerian cinematic border and see for yourself who is really the biggest ass! JWR

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