The Island [Martin Van Hassel, Spain, 2018]

Four strangers – a young woman draped in a silk gown, a nanny, a musician and an old man – meet at a pedestrian crossing where they painstakingly wait for a newly installed traffic signal to aid them safely to the other side of the road. This is not the set up to an overwrought party joke, but instead is the premise for Martin Van Hassel’s The Island (La Mediana), a wonderfully executed black-comedy come paranormal drama that skilfully wrestles with themes of mortality, revenge, regret and forgiveness. Much to the aforementioned characters’ inconvenience, the enabling green light eludes them, the ostensibly disparate characters growing increasingly impatient as each of their plans appear to

Echo [Galina Altman, Russia, 2018]

Capturing the transient nature of life in all of its tragic beauty, and doing so within one 60-second shot is an ambitious feat to say the least. Echo, directed by Galina Altman, is at least partially successful. The construction of scenery is admirable; a white statue of the eponymous, winged god atop a piano takes centre-frame, whilst a vase of pink flowers to its left loses its petals, these combined elements working in a way to lend a transient texture to a work that ultimately expresses a tendency towards an art installation piece intended for a long and hypnotic loop. The idea aims for a type of visual poetry and calls to mind the infamous ‘plastic-bag-in-the-wind’ scene from American

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