TIFF 2012 Review: Short Cuts Canada: Programme #1
The best film I say at TIFF 2011 – hell the best film I saw in all of 2011 – was a short film titled Le Trotteur. And I love short films. I think of them as a director’s playground. Freed from the budget constraints and pressures of a feature film, shorts can sometimes just really wow you and Short Cuts Canada Programme #1 was no exception. These programmes are typically loosely linked by theme, but this grouping is tied together by more abstract qualities, chiefly stunning visual construction and inventive narrative.
While all seven of the shorts in this programmer were interesting in their own way, there were 3 gems.
Malody from Phillip Barker shows us a very ill young woman in an increasingly unstable environment as she waits to die in a Toronto diner. It’s a lovely and dazzlingly meditation on illness and the destruction of the sense of self in the face of mortality. In the Q&A, Barker noted that he likes to explore what might be happening outside of the frame and this curiosity pays off in a startling and mysterious long-shot of his entire set being rolled in a giant drum by people in evening clothes.
In Keep a Modest Head, Deco Dawson brings us a surrealist mediation on the surrealist Andre Benoit. A fitting tribute to a complex man, Dawson takes us a tour of the house inside Benoit’s mind, complete with childhood memories, a hyper focus on sexuality, and actual voice recordings and footage of the man himself. Less a straight biopic and more a fitting homage, this short film is breathtaking.
A Pretty Funny Story from Evan Morgan is, as programmer Magali Simard noted in her intro, the funniest and darkest 19 minutes of film I’ve ever seen. After a frustrated suburban dad witnesses his neighbor doing a funny dance alone in his home, the neighbor exacts vengeance by implanting a tiny explosive device the man’s son’s head. Suffice it to say, there’s no happy endings here. Much like Le Trotteur, my fondest wish is that you get to see this one. Keep an eye on Canada’s Top Ten because I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it will make an appearance there.
Trailers for Short Cuts Canada Programme #1
Keep a Modest Head
A Pretty Funny Story
Images from Short Cuts Canada: Programme #1