Exodus [Kiran Dhoot, UK, 2018]

Humanity and trust are both called into question as desperation for survival erupts into paranoia and violence in this post-apocalyptic sci-fi short. Directed by Kiran Dhoot, Exodus tells the story of three civilians who have taken refuge in an underground bunker following a cataclysmic solar event that has triggered a mass evacuation and has left many in the lowest strata of society (our protagonists included) helpless and stranded. The film opens with the earth seen from the outer regions of space being swept up by large waves of radiation from the sun whilst we hear the sound of cross talk from global radio broadcasts detailing the disastrous events of a solar flare rendering the earth un

Juck [Olivia Kastebring/Julia Gumpert/Ulrika Bandeira, Sweden, 2018]

The final film to screen in the Generation 14-plus short film section at the Berlin International Film Festival 2018, and the programmers might just have saved the best until last with this audacious, punky and empowering performance documentary from Sweden. Juck (Thrust) is a movement in more than one sense; on the one hand, a dance movement comprising of a simple and repeated forward thrusting of the hips, evoking a typically masculine sexual gesture. On the other, it is a political movement, a feminist manifesto conceived of by six young women costumed in matching school uniforms who provocatively thrust along train platforms, in playgrounds, through tourist spots and on social media in a

Tangles and Knots [Renée Marie Petropoulos, Australia, 2017]

Australian short Tangles and Knots, written and directed by Renée Marie Petropoulos and produced by Janet Brown and Yingna Lu, is a story inspired by the filmmaker’s own adolescent relationship with her mother, a bond apparently less maternal and more sisterly. In an early scene, the camera closely frames the mother ritually grooming her teenage daughter – painting her nails, waxing her underarms and brushing her hair, as she girlishly advises her daughter on how to deal with the inevitable advance of pubescent boys with only one thing on their minds. Their large house, complete with a pool is the setting for the daughter’s birthday party, during which most of the drama takes place. It’s t

Three Centimetres [Lara Zeidan, UK, 2017]

Within the confines of a Ferris wheel cabin on the pier of a Lebanese beach, we join four young women on a consolatory day out for one of the group who has just gone through a break-up. As the girls queue and then clamber on board the Ferris wheel, they mirthfully engage in a cathartic character-assassination of the boyfriend who has recently dumped their friend. Thus begins their giddy ascent into the warm, dusk-lit sky. With the women suspended in mid-air, the wheel cranks to an ominous halt, just as another of the group’s party has delivered a painful revelation of her own. Three Centimetres – painstakingly shot in one take (cinematographer Pierfrancesco Cioffi intimated in the post-scree

Symphony of a Sad Sea [Carlos Morales, Mexico, 2017]

Silence can often be an extremely powerful tool in moments of passive resistance, a way to negatively reinforce statements that have been exhausted in other ways to less fruitful ends. With political tensions ever increasing between Donald Trump’s US senate and the Mexican government over the former’s contemptible plans to build a wall border between the two countries, it is the Mexican people’s eerie quiescence rather than Trump’s belligerent, war-dog rhetoric that resonates more powerfully in the minds of the closely watching outsider. But one fears that in the light of these relatively recent provocations, Mexico has become silent in resignation rather than resistance, the kind of resolve

Bless You! (Na Zdrowie!) [Paulina Ziółkowska, Poland, 2018]

Na Zdrowie! (Bless You!) is a Polish animation written and directed by Paulina Ziółkowska. It is a surrealist comedy with dialogue replaced with the busy cacophony of traffic and bustling footsteps in overcrowded metropolitan streets. The only human sounds we hear are strangers sneezing, of which there is a lot, as everybody appears to be spreading this particular contagion in something of a germ-passing relay. Absurdist in its execution and rationalist in its conceit, the film ambitiously attempts to demonstrate not only the indiscriminate nature of how germs spread, but also explores the complex infectiousness of our thoughts and actions. By using vibrant colours and dynamically abstracti

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