Xavierpop Does #WSFF12 – A Break-Down The ‘Who’s Your Dada?’ Programme
The 12 programs in the Official Selection category get started Wednesday with 8 shorts in Who’s Your Dada? (93 min). They’re visually arresting pieces helped by the fact that they take a turn for the surreal, the experimental, and the metaphysical both stylistically and thematically. Issues of authority, dominance and submission, as well as social roles are examined throughout.
In an homage of Saturday serials at the movies from the past, The Big Tree (5 min) is presented in appropriately-worn looking black and white. Dave has taken on a bargain that will see him try to cut down the tallest tree on Vancouver Island. With his stilts organ. Silly.
Men of the Earth (10 min) is a playful examination out of Australia of daily life on a construction crew. Have you ever really stopped to study what it is they do instead of hurrying pass them? This film makes you wonder. From a beguiling hazing ritual to a proper burial all in a day’s work. Amazing.
I have to admit that it’s taken me some time to come around to ‘dubstep’. You know it. You’ve heard it. Sounds like a car that can’t start yet it’s a genre of music. A dubstep soundtrack pulses and vibrates through Woodcarver (6 min), a brilliant short that only uses surveillance footage and a montage of newsreel bantering on the soundtrack about that case a couple years back where a Seattle cop shot four bullets into a Native American guy who was troubled but not violent. The music coupled with the reporting and the loopy video editing mash together in an unforgettable experience, unlike any other short so far at the festival. It’s also a statement about something important. Excellent.
Errol Morris delivers yet another interview that only he could deliver in The Umbrella Man (6 min), which sees the legendary documentarian set his interrotron contraption on JFK assassination scholar Tink Thompson in order to reveal the identity and the purpose of the “umbrella man”, an infamous character at the scene that sunny day as he was the only one hiding under an umbrella. Another fascinating trip with Errol Morris.
Edmond Was a Donkey (14 min), a France/Canada co-production, is hypnotic viewing. It’s an animated work that follows human-looking folks with donkey-like heads, and we’re sucked in right from the start in a black, white and gray world and with an atmosphere just this side of Tim Burton. Edmond is not like the rest. He’s brainier, more introverted, keeps to himself. He’s made fun of and teased and has pranks being played on him at every turn. But then something curious happens. Edmond begins to embrace his outsider appeal. Starts walking to the beat of his own drum. With the notion of self-perception and self-deception at work here mixed with an absorbing animation style, this qualifies as one of the best shorts playing this week.
Nothing Else (14 min) is a compelling work with weighty French Canadian talent all over this one, including actor Luc Brillant (C.R.A.Z.Y.), (Quebec’s Philip Seymour Hoffman) with his gifts for introspection and playing sad sacks. He plays Maxime, a guy who’s generally well-liked by others and who seems contented by life until revelations surface on the day of his 32nd birthday about how he really feels about himself and where he’s going. Is it just a drunken rant or is there truth in there somewhere? I could have watched this for 2 hours, easily.
Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer lends his voice as Kali the Little Vampire (9 min) in easily one of the most endearing shorts in the festival. The animation is hand-drawn and the color choices reminded me of the Iranian film Persepolis in its use of blacks, whites and reds. This is no ordinary vampire film, but an empathic, graceful, bewitching experience about a little vampire who only wishes to be your friend and challenges the stigma of what it could mean to be a vampire. A dazzling achievement, this one, in a very strong set of films.
The set concludes with The Twin (29 min), an absorbing metaphysical experience out of Sweden that follows a young architect through a sequence in his life where he learns that he has a tumor in his throat that looks uncannily like a small man. This story comes from the mind of Gustav Danielsson, who should be one to watch with his shades of Charlie Kaufman. This would make a very interesting feature.
Check out our coverage of the WorldWide Short Film Festival:
- MovieJay Reviews The Opening Night Gala: Winners From Around the World
- The @xvrpop Ultimate Worldwide Short Film Fest Preview
- The CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival’s Screenplay $50,000 Giveaway is Back!