What a wonderful, creative world. Here are a trio of productions that deserve to be seen and heard.
The Flying Fish
21 min., 2019
Sayginer has crafted a wee animated film that overflows with magic and inventiveness. The accompanying score/sound design (Sayginer along with Jochen Mader and Onar Tarcin)—replete with Carmina Burana-like choral moments—readily transports us into the world of paradoxes, skeletons (anyone out of the closet?) and brand names. Historical references to Neptune and Christ are balanced by devilish wedding ceremonies, gas masks and hungry tanks (er, hello there, Hong Kong/Tiananmen). The homage to Salvador Dali desert scene is as welcome as spring rain. And in the same vein as Samsara (cross-reference below), letting the images and sounds tell the story (repeated viewings are sure to alter the viewer’s take on the narrative) are almost intrudingly interrupted by a few lines of dialogue that might have been avoided altogether.
Now, with a few shorts under his cinematic belt, we can only hope that a feature production is in the works! JWR
A Million Eyes
24 min., 2019
Drawing with lights
Finding one’s muse has been the goal of artists of all stripes for time immemorial. In Raymond’s poignant realization of Curt Zacharias’ script, he has unleashed muses old and new.
The real find is Elijah Cooper’s film début (previously seen on television) as Leroy. The challenged young man (father long gone, mother fighting the bottle), finds solace and comfort with his camera: a battered Minolta, well beyond its best shooting days.
Briefly finding himself in prison (slicing photos out of bookstore volumes), Leroy is soon enraptured by Pyro (Shareef Salahuddin is readily affable as the inmate who would rather draw pictures than eat lunch), who inspires his young admirer to seek his muse once back in society.
Leroy’s mom (grittily portrayed by Katie Lowes) tries to do her best but can’t help being who she is. What better subject for a young photog intent on telling the truth through his lens.
Joe Morton, playing career photographer Fern, binds everything together by befriending Leroy, sharing his craft then challenging the young man to find his voice and share it.
Chris Hyson’s original score is at one with the mood and feel.
The final scene is a “snap” that will be long remembered.
Here’s to more from all concerned. JWR
15 min., 2017
Julio O. Ramos
It’s a miserable life
In just the space of a quarter of an hour, Ramos aptly demonstrates the flip side to Donald Trump’s “Build the wall.” Here, we find illegal immigrants engaged in home renovation work where the boss (Karran Karagulian is decidedly selfish and repugnant) is insistent on them remaining “invisible” to the outside world until their labours are over. But unarmed with a basic luxury of a safety harness, Rafa’s (Jorge Diaz, equally believable in life and death) rooftop fall onto the discarded materials, opens life-threatening wounds in his back. Confronted with this breach of cheap-at-twice-the-price protocol, the boss summons his personal physician (Daniyar) who—after the workers have been dismissed from the operating theatre (the garage) needles his way into a permanent solution to this unwanted “debris.”
Outraged beyond belief, the foreman (Tenoch Hera is superb as too-wise-for-his-own-good, Armando) of the desperate illegals confronts his master, but is no match for “the man” and his literal prick of “first, do no harm” physician. JWR