REVIEW: The Windshield Wiper [2021]

‘Cause soon enough we’ll die. The first thing I thought while watching Alberto Mielgo‘s short film The Windshield Wiper was that it must be utilizing rotoscoping. Every character populating his multiple vignettes about relationships—all sparked by a chain-smoking gentleman in a bar positing the question, “What is love?”—looks and feels real within his/her environments in a way that seems hard to fathom as not having been traced above live-action footage. As soon as you delve into the end credits, however, you see that it’s all been 3D-rendered by animators. The…

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REVIEW: Robin Robin [2021]

Not bad for a couple of flightless fools, eh? Familiarity means nothing as long as there’s enough heart. This is especially true with animated films such as Daniel Ojari and Michael Please‘s Aardman-produced short Robin Robin. We have seen the scenario many times: a lost egg finds its way to the home of a pack of mice on a scary rainy day, forcing Dad (Adeel Akhtar) to bring it inside and ultimately raise Robin (Bronte Carmichael) as his own. Like with most of these oddball situations, that which makes her…

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REVIEW: БоксБалет [BoxBallet] [2021]

While a coup attempt against Russian President Boris Yeltsin unfolds at the parliament in 1993, a beautiful ballerina named Olga and a beaten-down boxer named Evgeny cross paths on the subway. The encounter lasts but a second with the former not even registering that it had before exiting the train car. If not for his television changing to static after news reports of the violence on the streets (147 people were killed with 437 others left wounded), that might have been the end of it. Instead, Evgeny leaves his apartment…

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REVIEW: Bestia [Beast] [2021]

Her name was Íngrid Olderöck, otherwise known as “The Woman with the Dogs.” A Carabineros de Chile officer turned National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent under Augusto Pinochet, she received the nickname due to having trained a German Shepherd to sexually abuse and rape political prisoners of the regime in a middle-class neighborhood home coined the “Sexy Bandage.” She would later desert and fall victim to an assassination attempt led by the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) despite always assuming the hit was orchestrated by the Carabineros itself. She’d survive,…

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REVIEW: Affairs of the Art [2021]

Another obsessive in the family. Fifteen years after the character’s last foray in Dreams & Desires: Family Ties and thirty-five years since her debut in Girls Night Out, everyone’s favorite Welsh housewife Beryl (Menna Trussler) is back to narrate a series of anecdotes centered upon her eccentric family while pursuing a new obsession: hyper-futurism. The original team of Joanna Quinn (director and animator) and Les Mills (writer) takes us behind the scenes of their star’s art by showcasing the tireless support of her husband (walking up and down the stairs…

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REVIEW: The Long Goodbye [2020]

I spit my truth and it’s brown. Even before Riz Ahmed (who co-wrote with director Aneil Karia) rises from the pavement to rap his song “Where You From” (also heard in the feature-length film Mogul Mowgli), their short The Long Goodbye feels like a music video. Yes, we hear Ahmed singing other songs in the background as his character’s family prepares for his sister’s wedding, but I mean that more for the energy of the whole than any literal sense of the medium. We can feel that we’re biding time…

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REVIEW: Sukienka [The Dress] [2020]

Good different or bad different? Sitting alone at a slot machine, Julka (Anna Dzieduszycka) feels the brunt of sometimes drunken and always insensitive remarks thrown her way by locals and out-of-towners alike. She’s a person of short stature due to dwarfism who has never left her hometown in Poland. At one point Julka speaks about staying not only because it’s where she grew up and where she’s worked as a motel maid for eight years, but also because she wants to make sure her fellow residents see her and learn…

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REVIEW: Please Hold [2021]

Always read the fine print. After the debacle that was Don’t Look Up, it’s nice to know satire is alive and well courtesy of KD Davila‘s short film Please Hold. Where the former refuses to acknowledge its thinly veiled metaphor for what just happened in America during the COVID-19 crisis (choosing to willfully pretend as though it’s hypothesizing a future, unrelated tragedy instead), the latter knows exactly what it’s doing. Because while the idea of an automated justice system stripping human beings of their right to know what they’re being…

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REVIEW: On My Mind [2021]

It makes the soul fly. There may not be any surprises where it comes to the plot of Martin Strange-Hansen‘s short On My Mind, but there’s a ton of heart. And that’s often all you can ask for when it comes to art. Does the piece touch you on a level deeper than whether you can guess the ending? Do you leave the theater with a smile on your face thanks to the melancholic beauty of a character’s actions? Have the events unfolding on-screen brought forward your own memory of…

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REVIEW: Ala Kachuu [Take and Run] [2021]

We all came in tears. It’s always tough to process a film so steeped in conservative traditions completely unlike my own because it’s often difficult to fully comprehend the complexity. Maria Brendle‘s short Ala Kachuu [Take and Run] is no exception considering how futile its depiction of life for women in Kyrgyzstan proves. A faulty feedback loop is created wherein one tragic hardship is transformed into a “lesser evil” when compared to another, unintentionally projecting a message in stark contrast to the work’s goals. The idea here is to show…

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REVIEW: When We Were Bullies [2021]

And I participated. It couldn’t have played out better that the person to give writer/director Jay Rosenblatt the crucial perspective that he remembers the bullying incident at the center of his short documentary When We Were Bullies because of his complicity rather than the incident’s severity was his now ninety-two-year-old fifth grade teacher. How perfect is that? While you could place partial blame on her shoulders for punishing the whole class because of one student’s actions and naming him as the reason, her labeling them “animals” during their next class…

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