20 minutes, France
“Speak, not yell”
In our current days of “shoot first, ask questions hardly ever”, COVID-19 killing more minorities than the “entitled” along with the most egregious, buffoon president of all time, Laursen’s audition-tape story (Luke Forbes vying to play Josiah, a Civil War slave finally freed under stressful circumstances by his general—that character echoing Uncle Tom’s Cabin), hits many, many racism nails on the head, even as mostly white police continue to mow down black unfortunates.
As Josiah, Luke Forbes gives a performance worthy of an Oscar—and much more. His tape 1 rendering, being just good enough to convince white director-writer (Kevin Dunn as Jack) to request a “second tape”—fuelled by their obvious service in the US Army (some salutes cannot be faked).
The second reading is a marvel: emotions boil to the surface even as the “N” word seems not worth the breath to utter it (as is today).
Hearing the dulcet tones of Sammy Davis Jr. on the way to the exits, is a wonderful metaphor for what really matters in today’s extra-nasty world.
Let the “yelling” continue! JWR
17 minutes, India
On Valentine’s Day, a young Indian couple are exploring the contents of their underwear in a public park, only to be discovered by the pathetic sex police who, obviously, have nothing better to do.
In these days of systemic bullying (er, hello there George Floyd et al), this wee short packs a punch far beyond its weight.
Can’t we just get along? JWR
11 minutes, USA
Second time lucky
As we often said during my career as a musician. “If only we could have started with our second performance…”
In this veritable, er, two-hander, Marco (the charming Moran Sullivan) and Graham (Manny Dunn begging the camera for a wide shot), opt to skip class, get naked and let the world go away (so refreshing to see a white-black relationship founded on mutual love and desire). But when the sheets become stained, the new lovers face a moral test of the highest order, leading to a laundromat coda for the ages.
Director-writer Puccini seems to be ready for a feature. JWR
19 minutes, UK
Learning more than I wanted to…
In an Oxford prep school (with copious bells a ringing) Andrew (Stephen McMillan delivers an appropriately semi-bewildered performance as the earnest student craving his first female kiss in the shadow of his roommate’s manly nipple), tries to ”please” his educational master, Hepworth (wonderfully understated, but with obvious intent by Jamie Michie).
Fans of John Le Carré will savour the homecoming.
Writer-director Nicoll is ready for bigger fare. JWR
34 minutes, Germany
In defence of condoms
During a “day release” from prison, imagine meeting your son on his third birthday; Grandma is a wreck and you have to beg for coins in the street (third time lucky) just to have a sandwich.
Dad offers a wee bit of cash, but little else. Precocious Christopher seems oblivious to it all: lucky him.
Some lives should never have happened. JWR