JWR Articles: Film/DVD - La Chamade | Making of Making Nothing | Recovery | Mars, Oman | Monstrous Dios | El Ramanso (Directors: Emma Séméria, Barbara Erni, Kevin Jerome Everson, Vanessa Del Campo, Agustina San Martín, Sebastián Valencia Nuñoz) - June 8, 2020
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La Chamade | Making of Making Nothing | Recovery | Mars, Oman | Monstrous Dios | El Ramanso

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Reviewed for the 2020 edition of the Vienna Short Film Festival.
Six short films that have much to say

La Chamade (Blackbirds)
9 minutes, France
Emma Séméria
Four stars

They’ll never be alone

Two best-friend teens (Maïa Bendavid, Salha Kriamia—the latter has a promising career ahead), meet on a riverbank to discuss a very personal request: “I need to learn how to kiss in case this hot boy finally asks me out.” Surrounded by the sounds of nature and a pair of yellow-beaked birds whose flying days are over, a burial is arranged. Only after that pair are assured an afterlife together, does Salha summon his courage and proffers the kissing lesson that he is also unprepared for.

Lovingly presented, beautifully shot. JWR


Making of Making Nothing
19 minutes, Switzerland
Barbara Erni
Three and one half stars

The long farewell

Filmmaker Erni’s self-portrait trying to rekindle her art and her mother’s final passage (more than ready to go at 92) is a therapeutic study for both the principals and anyone else attempting to work through the death of a parent along with all of the memories (good, bad, indifferent) that, inevitably, come to the surface.

Still, in this age of near-criminal deaths in North America’s long-term care facilities, many families can only wish that our standards were as good as Switzerland’s.

Pierre Favre’s percussion-laden score is ideally suited to the images. JWR


Recovery
10 minutes, USA
Kevin Jerome Everson
Three stars

A different sort of spin

Here’s an apparent attitude test (Columbus Air Force Academy), where the handsome recruit spins continuously in his chair before numerically rating each sequence. Those with vivid imaginations might find the likes of Guantanamo Bay slip into mind. JWR


Mars, Oman
19 minutes, Belgium
Vanessa Del Campo
Three and one half stars

Of camels, astronauts and petroleum

Two young girls marvel at the heavens, while their older counterparts train in Mars-like terrain before a possible visit. Where’s the water? Hopefully the native-borns can offer some tips. The camels seem to be oblivious, but—if they could talk—would probably be able to share more insight about survival in the desert than their human masters. JWR


Monstrous Dios (Monster God)
19 minutes, Argentina
Agustina San Martín
Four stars

Power struggle of a different kind

Here’s a cautionary tale about the trials and tribulations of living in close proximity to a power plant that may not always work as expected.

The real stars are the cattle who, once their “fence” is discharged, take joy in new-found freedom. As a metaphor for the others “shackled” in life, films don’t get much better than this in making their point. JWR


El Ramanso (The Backwater)
19 minutes, Colombia
Sebastián Valencia Nuñoz
Three and one half stars

Life can be so different

A Colombian family is forced to relocate to the jungle as breadwinner Arnoldo faces unknown challenges in his previous domain. With a covey of children (not all sired by him), and a most pregnant wife nearing the end of term, he is forced out in the night to find water (the new landlord has yet to turn on the taps) and some sustenance for his brood—related or not.

As the camera does the talking, it becomes clear that this family has merely exchanged one hell for another. Thanks goodness it’s only fiction… JWR

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