Tiff 2014: Short Cuts Programme 3
The Short Cuts Canada Programme 3 offers audiences a viewing experience that ranges from the whimsical to one of bleak distress. Featuring six films in its soiree, the third installment of Short Cuts Canada Programme is a vignette of tales that all share a common theme of personal defeat which allows viewers to watch how the leads in each film comes to terms with their reality. These films push buttons with the majority delving into deep, provocative topics, while others push boundaries of sound effects and image manipulation. The Short Cuts Programme 3 features six short films that use their limited time to make huge, residing statements.
The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer is a phenomenally edited experimental piece that uses narration to quickly highlight how a childhood tragedy has effected to grown up siblings. Each possess different memories of the event sending them in two separate paths to cope independently with age. Their pain is expressed through director Randall Okita’s scratch film technique layered in psychedelic editing methods that transforms the story into a lively, momentous animation. The play with lights and shadows adds a bleak tone to the short leaving the nature and future of the two adults and hanging in speculation.
You can’t choose your family, a young girl must learn this in Luk’luk’l: Mother. A daughter of a heroin junkie and a minimum wage making mother who moonlights as a sex worker, the girl is actually only the background of the film. The forerunners are her dysfunctional unambitious parents. Wayne Wapeemukwa mixes documentary into his tale weaving a strange coat that walks the line of experimentation and Avant-garde. Luk’luk’l: Mother forces us to watch the embarrassing, horrific tragedies of life through a steady lens on its subjects.
Light embodies a raw desperation and emotion for Omar, a father whose new born baby prematurely dies. He panics as his mother phones him to assure that a proper burial for the child must be done. A new, Lebanese immigrant in the city, Omar realizes quickly that finding a proper Muslim doctor to go through with the procedure is slim to none leaving the grieving father to bless and bury his newborn. Light watches as he frantically makes phone calls and is given instructions by his mother, all the while attempting to fully comprehend the reality of losing his child. Complemented by a powerful lead performance and mindful direction, Light shows how hard it can be hard to come from darkness.
Indigo is a delightful stop motion short that lends most of its success to its gripping sound editing, among other technical advances. Following on the heels of a character’s adventure through a film world of sorts, Indigo’s plot unravels through the lead’s battle with a stealthy antagonist. Amanda Strong directs a film that is rich in detail, likewise as with designer Kevin F. Brown’s sound. It’s sound pans one speaker to the next and possesses a texture almost as sensible as its physical characters and scenes.
Jordan Tannahill’s Father is an interesting tale that puts narrative at the forefront of the short rather than its plot. Through jumbled images bouncing between time and space we see the last few minutes of a man’s life and how his son reacts to solve the problem. Father treats the linear time frame as its Yahtzee, taking fragments of the short into a cup, shaking it, then pouring the contents back down to be deciphered. Complete with extreme tight close ups and shaking camera, Father is sure to leave you a bit at ill-ease albeit confused.
Hole is perhaps the most controversial and provocative of all the films in the pack. Following a few days in the life of a disabled person, Hole challenges viewer’s thought of normalcy and confronts us with uncomfortable, rarely seen images of a marginalized, unrepresented group. We watch a disabled man’s search for sexual pleasure as he is tasked with the embarrassing task of asking another to help him fulfill his wishes. Hole confronts us with the reality of disabled people in an able-bodied world. Director Martin Edralin bravely exhibits the misery held in such a life in which every single day faces challenge that is very real and the result of simply existing.
Chamber Drama introduces us to a sound engineer and his eager but slacking intern. The intern wants to know what she can do to be considered a serious addition to the team, but learns it unexpectedly through a mistake on the job. Jeffery Zablotny utilizes impressive sound to cement the story’s effectiveness making sure viewers become aware of the work that goes into sound design and engineering.