Short Films at TIFF 2015 Part 2

This post contains the remaining short reviews for short films I saw as a part of this year’s TIFF lineup. If you’d like to read the first part then you can do so here.

Mia’

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A compelling mixed media piece based on aboriginal tales, Mia’ tells the story of a young street artist who turns into a salmon and weaves her way through urban landscapes and waterways leading to ancient forests. While there isn’t too much to take away in terms of plot, the mix of animation styles creates a visually stunning piece that leaves you wanting more from the short’s directors.

The Boyfriend Game

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One of the funnier shorts I’ve seen, we witness a simple game between two young girls imagining ideal boyfriends turn into something slightly sinister when one ruins it for the other. It’s hard to put the premise into words because the short is very condensed. The central conflict and resolution occurring in about two minutes, the entire short is about seven minutes long. The director, Alice Englert, provides her own take on the coming-of-age story and the loss of innocence in a unconventional manner. Satisfying to watch none the less.

Rock the Box

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While I’m sure I’ve seen mini documentaries on TV before, the “docu-short” that is Rock the Box is definitely the most artistic I’ve seen. The odd mix of short film and information piece brings the subject, DJ Rhiannon, to life by providing depth rather than just back story. Does the length the piece work for the subject matter? No, which is probably the biggest problem I have with short. But if the idea was expanded then perhaps it would fair better as an actual documentary.

Exit/Entrance or Trasumanar

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This short is a tribute to immigrants traveling from place to place, but you wouldn’t know that until the very end. While interesting to watch, the overt experimental aesthetic might be off putting to some viewers. There’s never anything graphic or offensive, just incoherent and makes you want to watching something else.

Dredger

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It’s hard to describe Dredger. You can attempt to explain the premise but I assume without watching the short several time you won’t garner it’s full meaning. Essentially an interpretation of cabin fever, Dredger tells the story a young boatman’s new wife and her struggles to adjust to her new life. Of course that’s only have made an educated guess based on what’s happening on screen. It’s one thing to portray things in an artistic light, it’s another to take a cool idea and make it dull because you’re not connecting the audience because you’re focusing on appearance rather than substance. As a result, Dredger is a bit dull unfortunately.

Seeing all these shorts definitely makes you realize about how much you can see that often goes under the radar at film festivals. For next year I’ll probably try to make it to even more short film screenings. Partially in support of these unknown directors, but also because the power of the short film medium as a whole. Short and sweet, that’s what many of the shorts at TIFF 2015 are.


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