The 5th Short Film Hall of Fame

Tools    





Life as a shorty shouldn't be so rough
Would it be possible to have an index of all our reviews in the first post of this thread, btw?
I don't want to promise that I'll make one, but I'll say I'll try to make one. I did say that this will be pretty barebones compared to other HoFs. Plus all you overachievers have already posted like 30 reviews.



Next time , be more specific.

Brats
(1930)

When I was younger, I remember watching Laurel and Hardy short films on Saturday morning and as time fillers for other films that ran short of the time allowed. They may have been funny back then but not so much now.

This was a bit cute as they starred themselves as children. This was slap stick comedy. I found it a bit silly as an adult and the line " You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead" was really lame imo.

I guess I'm not much of a fan now.





Nu, 2003

A Jakob (Mads Mikkelsen) marries Lisa (Elin Klinga), but something between them isn't right. While Lisa gets pregnant and cares for their baby, Jakob begins a relationship with Adam (Mikael Persbrandt), which seems to partly explain the lack of sparks between the married couple.

This is a nearly dialogue-free short, with some really lovely compositions and a stark black-and-white look.

Reading reviews about this film online wasn't all that illuminating, because they mainly seem to be "Mads Mikkelsen touch MY face please!", but I think that the story itself is fairly easy to grasp. While usually the tragedy of a gay person shoehorned into a straight marriage is more to do with that person, here it is Lisa who gets the really rough side of things. The baby seems to stand for either her mental state or the state of their marriage, and either way by the end of the short the babies screams have taken on a metallic/demonic tone.

I think that the opening sequence, in which Jakob touches his wife's face with a mix of affection, apprehension, and confusion, is probably the strongest moment of communicating how alienating it would be to be in a marriage in which things just didn't feel right. While Jakob goes through the motions--the marriage and the sexual consummation of their union---it is without real passion. By the time Jakob finds a relationship that makes sense, it is too late. Him finding his happiness means the emotional abandonment of Lisa (and their baby!).

A solid short with good performances.

(Also, this had no impact on my rating AT ALL, but I was a bit irked to see that the most common plot summary around for this one refers to Lisa has "having something up her sleeve" as if
WARNING: spoilers below
her killing of their child is something done as a trick or a way to punish Jakob, when the sound effects and the way she is filmed clearly show that she's having some sort of breakdown or possibly post-partum depression issues.
)

+



Next time , be more specific.


Nu, 2003

A Jakob (Mads Mikkelsen) marries Lisa (Elin Klinga), but something between them isn't right. While Lisa gets pregnant and cares for their baby, Jakob begins a relationship with Adam (Mikael Persbrandt), which seems to partly explain the lack of sparks between the married couple.

This is a nearly dialogue-free short, with some really lovely compositions and a stark black-and-white look.

Reading reviews about this film online wasn't all that illuminating, because they mainly seem to be "Mads Mikkelsen touch MY face please!", but I think that the story itself is fairly easy to grasp. While usually the tragedy of a gay person shoehorned into a straight marriage is more to do with that person, here it is Lisa who gets the really rough side of things. The baby seems to stand for either her mental state or the state of their marriage, and either way by the end of the short the babies screams have taken on a metallic/demonic tone.

I think that the opening sequence, in which Jakob touches his wife's face with a mix of affection, apprehension, and confusion, is probably the strongest moment of communicating how alienating it would be to be in a marriage in which things just didn't feel right. While Jakob goes through the motions--the marriage and the sexual consummation of their union---it is without real passion. By the time Jakob finds a relationship that makes sense, it is too late. Him finding his happiness means the emotional abandonment of Lisa (and their baby!).

A solid short with good performances.

(Also, this had no impact on my rating AT ALL, but I was a bit irked to see that the most common plot summary around for this one refers to Lisa has "having something up her sleeve" as if
WARNING: spoilers below
her killing of their child is something done as a trick or a way to punish Jakob, when the sound effects and the way she is filmed clearly show that she's having some sort of breakdown or possibly post-partum depression issues.
)

+
Mikael Persbrandt plays Mads' brother in "The Salvation", which is a very good western themed film. I will recommend any films of Mads as well.





A Gun for George, 2011

Terry (Matthew Holness) is the embattled writer of a series of suburban revenge novels about a man seeking perpetual revenge for the trashing of his prized car. As Terry's attempts to get published (or even placed in the local library) are shut down again and again, his anger brings him closer and closer to the mindset of his violent protagonist.

There's always something pleasing about a parody that reveals a genuine affection or nostalgia for the very thing it's mocking. In this case, it's the glut of 80s "decent guy can't take it anymore!" type stories.

The main thrust of this short is the comedy. From the running gag about how Terry's writing frequently features guys being hit (with a range of weapons) in the balls, to the fact that he's written uncountable stories all stemming from the same incident of car vandalism, to the hilarious and painful montage of Terry trying to get his book into a library or any other place with a shelf. Holness maintains a perfect tone of arrogance atop deep insecurity, something that's highlighted every time Terry runs up against any kind of threat or authority figure. The thriller plots he loves so much are, for me, clearly something that comes out of the desire to face a serious threat so that he would be justified in responding in violent fashion.

But there's more here than just comedy. Some of the fantasy sequences (in which Terry imagines himself as his own protagonist, the "Reprisaliser"--a clear knock-off of the Equalizer franchise) have a really excellent look to them, including a shot from inside the car as a hooligan smashes it while Terry/The Reprisaliser ducks for cover. Obviously the overall context is humor, but true to the fact that they exist inside of Terry's heated imagination, they look good and without the comedy context would be pretty scary. The final moments, in which we watch Terry's imagination and reality collide with what we anticipate will be a bad outcome, is honestly a bit chilling.

I really enjoyed this one!




Mikael Persbrandt plays Mads' brother in "The Salvation", which is a very good western themed film. I will recommend any films of Mads as well.
He tends to pick really interesting projects, and he's always one of the best things about them.



Next time , be more specific.
He tends to pick really interesting projects, and he's always one of the best things about them.
Yes, Mads is an amazing character actor. I think his best two are The Hunt and Valhalla Rising. Another Round, After The Wedding and Adam's Apples are pretty good as well.

I would have to rewatch his older films to rate them in order. I have seen at least every one once except a few that are a rare find, or at least when I tried to watch them, they were.




Hedgehog in the Fog (Yuri Norstein, 1975)

Takoma hitting us with one of the most iconic short films there is and its reputation is very much deserved. Everything about it is perfectly executed. The lighting and environmental effects standout the most for me, with the fog and water adding so much to the vibe and love love love how they play with the speed at parts. Just a beautiful, wondrous and slightly funny little film that's endlessly charming. Clearly an all-timer.





Un Obus Partout, 2015

A young man decides to cross a bridge to visit his fiance in Beirut. He takes his best friend along---the two of them hoping that a big soccer game will be enough of a distraction for them to get past a series of snipers guarding the bridge.

This is a sharp little film and very kinetic. I liked the style of having the characters in black silhouette, with the occasional accent of color. The background is patterned with detailed lattice work, something that creates a stark contrast once the two men are on the bridge and the background is mainly various shades of dark.

The film uses a device of cutting between the soccer game and the manic drive across the bridge (giving double meaning to many moments, such as "he shoots!") and for the most part it is very effective.

There is a heaviness that hangs over the film. Even if the men succeed on their mission of visiting the fiance, they are still living in a violent, unpredictable country. And yet, what more can you live for in such a situation except for small victories?

A good short and, like many that have been nominated in this HoF, just the right runtime.





Hedgehog in the Fog (Yuri Norstein, 1975)

Takoma hitting us with one of the most iconic short films there is and its reputation is very much deserved. Everything about it is perfectly executed. The lighting and environmental effects standout the most for me, with the fog and water adding so much to the vibe and love love love how they play with the speed at parts. Just a beautiful, wondrous and slightly funny little film that's endlessly charming. Clearly an all-timer.
It always surprises me (pleasantly!) how many people have actually seen this film. Maybe it's just because shorts aren't discussed as much as feature length films.



Malice in Wonderland

I enjoyed this short as a phantasmagorical distillation of Lewis Carroll's classic novel. Vince Collins must have been inspired by Ralph Bakshi because it resembles what one of his fever dreams would look like; or better yet, it comes across like what would happen if he directed Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More" music video. Speaking of Bakshi, the sexual imagery is as raw, unsubtle and striking as it is in his early movies. The surprising ways Collins makes his imagery sexual combined with his use of looping and repetition is what makes the short so hypnotically watchable. The booty-bumping trees are a highlight in this regard, which is also the sequence that made me laugh out loud. Admittedly, I have not read Alice in Wonderland, my only familiarity with the story being the classic Disney movie, which I haven't watched in many years, and course the music video I mentioned. As a result, a lot of the commentary probably went over my head. A YouTube commenter mentioned that it's about the painful process of going from girlhood to womanhood, which I think fits. However, whether I was an expert on Lewis Carrol or not, I still think I'd be more taken with the strength of the craft than the themes the short brings up. With that said, I joined this Hall of Fame hoping I'd see some quality animation - bonus points if it's the kind that messes with your head - and since it succeeds in both regards, I'm glad I watched it.





Goodbye Mommy, 2019

A washed up detective is hired by a queen to track down her errant husband and their strange alien baby.

I would never have watched this short on my own, mainly because the type of computer animation that it uses just does not get along with my brain. Sure enough, I started to feel a little seasick about 5 minutes in and had to take a few breaks along the way.

And yet despite the fact that I needed a walk and a big drink of water halfway through it, I did end up enjoying this short and I'm glad it was nominated, as it was very different from everything else I've watched so far.

What really clicked with me here was the humor. "He realized he would do anything for this large, beautiful woman." The voice acting really worked for me, as did the visual gags (like "Killer Speaks" and "Killer Listens"). I think that it takes talent to walk that line of something looking "wrong" while still looking intentionally made, and this short fell on the right side of that line for me.

It also deserves credit, I think, for having a world that feels at once totally bonkers and yet also startlingly coherent.

+




A Gun for George, 2011

The final moments, in which we watch Terry's imagination and reality collide with what we anticipate will be a bad outcome, is honestly a bit chilling.
Happy to read this last sentence of yours. The comedy bits are very funny, but it was because of the end that I nominated it. You GET it!


ps- am I expected to review my own nomination?




Goodbye Mommy (Jack Wedge, 2019)

I know a lot of people don't really dig on 3D animation but being 30 (and also Canadian) I think makes me predisposed to loving it. Growing up with shows from Mainframe Entertainment and 64-bit video games, janky 3D just hits right for me and now that its approachable enough for very small teams or even one person to make weird, cool stuff in the style its even more my bag now.

While this doesn't have the polygonal look of the computer animation of my childhood, I love both the similarities and differences to that style and really adore how much it utilizes whatever workspace it was created in (Blender? Maya? idk), especially in the camerawork. Stretching and distorting characters is pretty standard for animation but I haven't seen a ton of things that apply that idea to the camera. Having the focal length and whatever else squishing and stretching all over the place is such a look and that extremely exaggerated Hitchcock Pull got a good laugh out of me. Just such a good example of taking advantage of the medium you're working in. Like you really couldn't replicate this in even other styles of animation. Its such a visual splendor or nightmare, depending on who you ask and the music matches it perfectly. A lot of it has this ethereal vibe while also being distorted in the exact way the camera and visuals are. The whole vision is so cohesive but doesn't feel like its overly scripted either, which is kind of tough in animation with how much planning has to go into it. Manages to keep that free and open vibe that I love so much. Its just a really fun film. The voice acting adds a lot plus there's a couple really funny lines. I adore this so much.



Happy to read this last sentence of yours. The comedy bits are very funny, but it was because of the end that I nominated it. You GET it!
I mean, I finished watching it a short while before a friend posted something about "what happened in Texas" and I went to Reuters and, yeah . . . .

The whole vision is so cohesive but doesn't feel like its overly scripted either, which is kind of tough in animation with how much planning has to go into it.
This is what I appreciated more and more as the short went on--the way that it managed to imbue everything with a sense of spontaneity, even though you know inside that everything has to be planned out.