REVIEWS

Malady of Us [Tanakit Kitsanayunyong, Thailand, 2017] /// Maman Soori’s Case [Hossein Hejrati, Iran,

Anyone who has ever been left confused by the obscurity of their own dreams will be familiar with the inherent fascination and frustration of viewing Malady of Us; that longing to better recall, better decode the meaning of one’s own dreams, to discern their significance and discover why our subconscious causes certain events or places to recur across dreams spanning many years. Director Tanakit Kitsanayunyong explores through art what it feels like when we awaken from sleep to find we have left our dreams unfinished and return to our waking lives, and the inherent frustrations of finding that a fulfilling conclusion lies forever beyond our slumbered reach, relating these sensations to ongoi

Yourself [Lukas Pohl, Germany/South Africa, 2018]

Yourself is a short commercial film which highlights a uniquely twenty-first century issue, calling its viewers back to nature and drawing us away from the hustle and bustle of city life, imploring us to ‘wake up, [and] let go of the system.’ The cool-toned colour palette of blues and subdued sandy tones immerses the viewer into the world of the surf from the offset, where slowed down images of unfurling waves and sun-bleached hair blowing in the wind are gradually introduced and we follow three friends out of the city and into the ocean. The transition from two juxtaposing environments is handled gracefully by Lukas Pohl, as the progression of the friends’ journey is rhythmically guided by

Skin [Andrea Mychaels, USA, 2017]

Skin depicts an uneasy anxiety surrounding the fragility of the physical interface between our inner and outer worlds. In this short, Andrea Mychaels explores the darker corners of human vulnerability through the grooves, inclines, and surfaces of the physical form in stasis and in motion. Through playing with natural shadow and light, the film visually highlights a more softened contrast between the paleness of the skin against a wholly black backdrop, this thematic also being carried into the gradually fading transitions between scenes. In certain moments, there is a complete lack of differentiation between ceiling and floor, suspending bodies amidst this blackened canvas so that bodies al

GamePlan [Lynn O. C. Thompson, USA, 2017]

GamePlan is a film that very definitely represents the social and global complexities of modern day manufacturing and consumerism. It is a very important film, not just for its narrative and message about where we are as a planet, but for where we are heading, and a comment on humanity’s self-designed fate. The duel thematic approach, employing the style of a board game with the emphasis on chance (such as ‘go back three places’), together with the deconstruction of a nation’s and a world’s economic reliance upon its manufacturing output is biting, clever and, in this instance, incredibly well edited. The late 80s electronic soundtrack only goes to support certain political stances of this p

I See You See I See You [Chen Jiexiao, Singapore, 2017] /// Self-Portrait with Mother (Serve), USA,

At some point everyone has been a victim to pareidolia, the phenomenon that occurs when we begin to interpret inanimate objects as something more familiar. For filmmaker and dance choreographer Chen Jiexiao, such an event occurred when he began to recognise faces in the foam of swimming float kickboards. Using this discovery as a stimulus for his characters, I See You See I See You utilises mask work, dance choreography and rubber ducks to deliver a short that is every bit as bizarre as it is wonderful. As our three main characters dance around a Singaporean apartment lot with their faces covered by the float kickboard masks and a jovial accordion score driving their progression, their inter

Don’t Worry, Be Happy [Jennifer Revit, Denmark/Norway/Sweden, 2017]

Jennifer Revit’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy is the tale of one woman’s journey through Scandinavia. This collage of captured moments accompanied by one unfaltering voice works like a video diary as the narrator moves between Denmark, Norway and Sweden. While there are glimmers of potential, this short draws attention to some of the issues of the travelogue form. The shakily filmed scenes are sometimes cleverly linked with the nameless woman’s words. For example, as the narrator observes that “people here are younger”, the image switches to a shot of a graveyard. However, most of the scenes lack this intelligent context and the monologue is marred by clunky phrasing such as “it feels, looks and ta

Grace [Gaetano Ghiura, UK, 2018] /// Jax in Love [Colin Campbell, USA, 2017]

Grace sees the transformation of a woman from a victim to a killer. This film, written and directed by Gaetano Ghiura, is a slick homage to the film noir genre. Yet, while the smooth production of the piece stands testament to the film crew’s ability, it is not enough to overcome the thinness of the plot. The film opens in a dank basement as Donnie approaches a bloodied woman lying on a mattress. He tenderly hands her a necklace before forcing her to shoot someone in the head. The imbalance of power between Donnie, a well dressed white man as well as a charitable killer, and Grace, a terrified and vulnerable woman, is a little grating. It could be argued that a member of a murderous gang doe

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