JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Mushka | Chomp It! | Big Bang | Hills and Mountains (Directors: Andreas Deja, Mark Chua, Lam Li Shuen, Carlos Segundo, Sala Pashtoonyar) - July 2, 2023 id="543337086">

Mushka | Chomp It! | Big Bang | Hills and Mountains

5 5

Reviewed at the 2023 edition of the Palm Springs International ShortFest
Much variety here

Andreas Deja
2023, 28 minutes
Five stars

How to raise a tiger

With Deja’s always inventive touch and a production team that knows how to realize goals, here’s a film that—on the outside—is about a 9-year-old girl singlehandedly raising a tiger cub (set in Kyiv, in 1975). But so, so much, more to say about those in our midst who need especial TLC.

The voices (Tanner Beard as Father, Josh Allen Goldman as Alex, Kelly Hoover as Grandmother and Helena Aviv Perez as Sarah) are in tune with the notion, but it falls to soprano Holly Sedillos’ soaring range to truly bring home this marvellous “lullaby” for thoughtful listeners to wonder what they might actually do in support of the “different” amongst us.

Miss it at your peril. JWR

Chomp It!
Mark Chua, Lam Li Shuen
2023, 11 minutes
Four stars

Enjoy the meal

Sometimes, films are purposely bizarre. This is certainly one of them. Bringing a whole new meaning to a two-hander, Mr. Lok and side-kick, Scholar, spend a day at the pool, doing a dance of the damned and reaching into their inner reptiles.

Not a frame wasted. JWR

Big Bang
Carlos Segundo
2023, 14 minutes
Four and one half stars

Of ovens and men

For some of the different amongst us, it is hard to avoid stigma and being looked down upon—much less make a living. For Chico, a person of short stature, he readily survives his situation by, literally, putting his body and soul into wayward ovens, remedying the problem and being paid for his efforts from above (many of the camera angles aptly demonstrate his point of view).

As Chico, Giovanni Venturini turns in a bravura performance that will stick with viewers  for a long time after the credit roll fades to black.

Spiced up with a modicum of revenge and an unforgettable dance sequence, Segundo has crafted a universal statement/message for anyone who has been unfairly judged by their look and not their soul. JWR

Hills and Mountains
Sala Pashtoonyar
2023, 8 minutes
Three and one half stars

A wedding as a funeral

Here’s a somewhat fictional tale of a long-awaited daughter (admirably voiced by Fereshta Afshar) with just five brothers ahead of her, who lives in, then departs Afghanistan just as the Russians invade. Once safe and secure elsewhere, her fragile life turns upside down when accused of having an affair with a “respectable” married man. And as in all things GOP these days, there is not an iota of proof of the dalliance: saying it aloud must surely be enough.

On too may planes the film is at one with Russia’s pathetic invasion of Ukraine and Trump’s unsupported-by-facts of any wrongdoing anywhere.

Worst of all? The heroine opts to marry the man she is accused of fornication with. Well, that solves everything. JWR

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