If variety is the spice of life, then feast your eyes and ears on this quintet of shorts.
Sweden, 25 min.
Double dare delight
Anyone who may enjoy the pleasure/pain of toys in the bedroom will appreciate Sidor’s role-reversal essay. After Alice buys a strap-on dildo in a porn shop (er, edged on by her girlfriends) she dares wear it in public—much to the surprise of current white beau Albin, and not-right-now-but-maybe-later exquisitely muscled black man about town, Alexis.
There is no overt sex (on screen), but by journey’s end, it is apparent that someone else is now wearing the pants in this mixed-race relationship. Feature in the works? JWR
The Colour of Your Lips
Canada, 18 min.
Till breath do us
Here’s a cautionary, fanciful tale of the last couple on Earth that has more than a better odds-on chance of becoming reality. One male diver emerges from the watery depths only to discover that—without his breathing apparatus—he would be as dead as a doornail. Scouring the nearby houses, he comes upon a woman who—likewise—would no longer be amongst the living, save and except her permanent requirement for an oxygen tank in order to sustain life. What follows are a few sequences of thrust-together lives bound together after the atmospheric apocalypse that, hopefully, demonstrates the inherent kindness/beauty in all of us (no matter what the circumstances) along with the basic human instinct for survival at all costs. Here’s a dance of death with a full card. JWR
Nice Talking to You
Pakistan, 20 min.
Eyes closed, shoelaces undone
Sadiq has crafted a fascinating love story that begins in welcome silence and ends with the possibility of…well, we’ll never know. The signing in the opening sequence is a timely reminder to everyone just how the deaf community has an equally robust vocabulary and variety of tones/moods as anyone else. The subtext of pre-arranged Lebanese marriages serves but a mild purpose, where further explorations of what makes Olie (Colin Bates in fine form) and Zaid (Bane Fakih doing her best in two languages) tick must await the feature. Hopefully that day will come no matter what mode of expression is selected. JWR
Singapore, 13 min.
No one is well
A household filled with varying degrees of health issues (from mild: injured leg; to troubling: pervasive skin rash to life-threatening: cause unknown) is the backdrop for this sexually charged portrayal of the “happy” couple—Adam Jared Lee, Vicki Yang—being threatened by the unstoppable lust of sibling rivalry and wanton opportunity. Ong stokes the atmosphere with minimal dialogue, ticking clock, regular alarms (signalling medical treatments for she who is gasping for breath) even after the rashest of them all has her most private part devoured by the “taken” man whose crutch is a powerful symbol of his character. Let’s have much more from Ong’s inventive and character-savvy mind. JWR
India, 22 min.
Staying awake to stay alive
At the India-Pakistan border, armed conflict is still (and perhaps always will be, given other histories of British “fixes” for other parts of the Empire: divide after conquering without too much logic involved) a fact of life and death.
In Pandey’s marvellously innocent tale, young Noor comes to the remarkable conclusion that if she sleeps at night, the bullet “markers” and occasional fatalities in her small village (Chuntivval, Gurez is the “set”), are far greater than if she manages to stay awake. This wanting to wish war away rather than engaging in it is hugely powerful in 2019: especially when it takes a young girl to lead the way forward, rather than her argumentative, pugilistic elders.
Adding much to the film is Daniel George’s instrumental-rich original score coupled with plaintive chants that, together, reinforce the hope and despair of conflicts that seem doomed to drag on forever. JWR