JWR Articles: Film/DVD - The Conductor | El Carrito | Rustling | July | Seasick (Directors: Graham Goldstein, Eli Zavala, Tom Furniss, Mauritz Brekke Solberg, Lindsey Ryan) - June 25, 2022

The Conductor | El Carrito | Rustling | July | Seasick

4.5 4.5

Random shorts from Palm Springs 2022

The Conductor
12 minutes
Graham Goldstein
Four and one half stars

When dreams die

Having been a conductor for 20 years, how could I pass up the chance to take a look at Goldstein’s comedic gem?

But in this case, the “maestro” is the head waiter at LA’s famed Crane restaurant, whose motto, “Do what you’re good at”, er, sets the table for the laughs to come.

Andy Ottenweller is ideally cast as the maître d’ extraordinaire (even making the cover of Variety!), Miles Porter. His on-camera interview (the film within the film)  is delivered with stoicism, pride and hope.

Trainee Cayla (Lucy Blehar, in marvellous form) is the perfect foil to her by-the-book boss even employing a bit of literal nut larceny by journey’s end.

Completing the trio of leads, Peter Charnock readily fits the role of long-lost colleague turned filmmaker, Luke Ashley.

Anyone who has had dreams of making it big only to realize that life seldom turns out the way we imagined/fantasized it, will empathize and enjoy a viewing.

The icing on this wee cake is the jazzy score from Zach Moses Ostroff—notably his stand-up bass solo—and Nelson Diaz.

Cheers to a feature! JWR

El Carrito
15 minutes
Eli Zavala
Four stars

So many live this way

Life on the streets gets a twist as Zavala takes a close-up of unlicensed street vendors trying to eke out a living in Queens.

Zavala puts the camera on herself as Nelly and does an excellent job of portraying a woman with a health-compromised dad (Jose Febus is appropriately befuddled in the role) trying to “bring home the bacon” with a food cart that is sometimes pushed aside to the curb.

While the narrative revolves around Nelly’s purchase of an “upscale” cart to hawk her wares, it’s really about survival of the fittest in an increasingly difficult world for those just trying to hang on.

Literal food for thought! JWR

Tom Furniss
Four stars

“It’s just a lamb”

In just a few short minutes, Furniss ably demonstrates the plight of baby lambs versus the appetite of home cuisine and restaurants alike. Choose your own menu and come to a conclusion that savours pets or feasts. JWR

17 minutes
Mauritz Brekke Solberg
Four stars

What price friendship?

Friendship is one of life’s balms. Here, the four amigos (Sabina Memishi, Bajrush Mjkau, Erman Saban, Anatas Tanovski) try to find their way in a world that might kill babies: real or imagined.

In our era of fake news and media manipulation (and now the repeal of Roe vs. Wade), it’s worth a look if for nothing more than the subtext. JWR

12 minutes
Lindsey Ryan
Three and one half stars

Anchors waylaid!

On the ferry (so appropriate in this narrative) from NYC to infamous Fire Island, a crew member, Sadie (Pauline Chalamet is appropriately confused) tries to work out her amorous feelings/suspicions for Captain Jess (Alexandria Benford is all business until the final scene).

It’s a voyage worth taking, especially as an unexpected plunge into the deep  reveals all! JWR

Your comments are always welcome at JWR.

Click here to have your say (please mention the headline for the article):Feedback to JWR.

Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Palm Springs International ShortFest