The Jezabels – “The Others” [Matt Connelly, Australia, 2017]

The Others is a music video from Australian indie-rock band The Jezabels and directed by Matt Connelly. It begins with a low tracking shot of lead singer Hayley Mary – clad in short-legged slacks, white sport socks and Dr. Martens shoes with an electric guitar slung high around her torso – as we follow her onto an industrial set, where the rest of the band are in place and already performing. She takes her place centre stage in time to serenade us with the song’s first verse, addressing the camera directly. Combined with the opening shot, the saturated delay and chorus of the guitar hook instantly signals us into ‘hipster’ territory, punctuated with a ‘New Romantic’ edge. The grainy VHS-sty

SHORT FOCUS 2018: Bryce and Liam Go to Space! [Bryce Padovan, Australia, 2018]

Two friends gaze up towards the stars and ponder the possibilities of space travel. For birthday boy Bryce, it is more than just an idea, going as far as to build his own spaceship (albeit out of plastic and cardboard) in his shed, much to the bewilderment of his best friend Liam. “Come inside!” Bryce offers. “Oh! You’ve built an inside as well?” ripostes Liam sardonically, as he reluctantly clambers on board. Once inside the craft, we discover the extent of Bryce’s obsession and resolve to venture into the furthest regions of outer space. Wires, switches and mobile phones line the dashboard of the cockpit. “This whole thing is made of rubbish!” Liam exclaims, until Bryce flicks on the power

Podge [Rebecca Singleton, Ireland, 2017]

This tale of a lonely mortician goes to dark and disturbing ends to explore the link between morality and desire. Podge, the eponymous protagonist is a lonely mortician who spends more time around dead bodies than live ones. His only apparent relationships are a platonic one with his colleague Colleen and the celebrities in his calendar that he idolises. At home he lives like a slob, leaving dirty plates strewn across the floor and drinking beer until he falls asleep on the couch. With the television still on we learn of the tragic death of a famous actress. The next morning, still unbeknownst to Podge, the body of the superstar has ended up on his embalming table and Colleen attempts with a

D For Docs [Joe Sikoryak, USA, 2017]

Professor Marty is a documentary film teacher who is exasperated by what he believes to be a class full of inattentive and uninspired students. He is overheard by one of his class complaining about this to a friend on the phone. “They don’t know their aspect ratio, from their elbow”, he quips as the student looks on in astonishment behind his back. It’s the final week of the semester and Marty’s class are to screen their projects, something for which he does not have particularly high expectations. To make things worse, the head of department has sprung upon him a surprise peer review to assess the progress of his first term. What follows is a showcase of student documentaries presented by t

A Tale of War [Hossein Jehani, Iraq, 2018]

Hossein Jehani’s A Tale of War is a harrowing 20-minute documentary from Iraq, which shines an expository light on the lives of refugees that live in fear under the shadow of the Shia militias that have brought destruction upon their community. These people are the unfortunate and desperate victims of a cruel and senseless terror that has lasted long after their homes and livelihoods have been ravaged by the battle waged by the US against religious rebels in the name of ‘liberation’. We meet families who existed previously in either opposition or support of the ISIS regime and now unified in their state of victimisation and abuse by said faction, as they re-contextualise their lives within t

SHORT FOCUS 2018: Tracing Coyotes – A Dog Crosses My Way [Theresa Grysczok/Eeva Ojanperä, Germany, 2

Tracing Coyotes – A Dog Crosses My Way is a mesmerising display of ingenuity. An exercise in stop-motion photography, imagist poetry and abstract sound, the film ponders on ideas concerning existentialism, physicality and the universe. Where do we fit in? What makes us human? How are we different from and simultaneously the same as all things? Are we truly connected or is there something that separates us all? These are some of the questions that arise from the film’s poetic prologue as we are hurled towards the cosmos – animated lines connecting constellations, which then breathe life into a pair of hands that play Cat’s Cradle with a looped string. The back of a woman’s head and shoulders

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