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Film Of The Week: Colette

Colette by Anthony Giaccino (2020) (USA/Fra/Ger) (25m)

This Oscar-winning short doc follows the eponymous Colette Marin-Catherine, whose family were in the French Resistance during WWII, and who is visiting Germany for the first time at 90. Her journey is instigated by the young French student who is composing biographies of those who died at Neuengamme concentration camp, including Colette's brother. Of course, anything about the death camps is bound to bring a tear to your eye and it is hard to find a unique take on the Holocaust.


From My Window by Frank Pickell (2021) (USA) (19m)

With a tendency for us to get lost in our own difficulties, our problems pale into insignificance when compared with the everyday struggles of others, such as the subject of this film, Melissa. Born with cerebral palsy, and thus confined to a wheelchair, Melissa dreams of climbing the mountain she can see from her bedroom window. With the help of her blind mentor, Erik, and the support of a charity, Melissa will get her chance to ascend the unreachable peak. It is a life-affirming story that will have you reassessing your own problems - at least for a few hours.



Goodbye Golovin by Mathieu Grimard (2019) (Ukraine) (14m)

Goodbye Golovin tells the story Ian Golovin, a young man whose father has just died, allowing him to escape his life in one of those depressing Soviet-era towns full of tower blocks and despair. However, as he burns bridges on his way out, the question becomes whether his situation is really the problem. It performed well on the festival circuit, picking up awards along the way. I especially like that it has a skinny redhead in the lead (we tend to be overlooked by casting agents).

Exam by Sonia Hadad (2019) (Iran) (15m) 15

Exam was a hit on the festival circuit, winning at Sundance. Although it takes its time to get going, once the drama hits it is a riveting watch. A teenage schoolgirl - Sadaf - is asked by her father to pass on a small bag of cocaine on her way to school. However, when the buyer fails to arrive on time, and late for an exam, she continues to school with the drugs still in her school bag. You might ask why, if random bag checks take place in her strict Islamic school, she did not hide the cocaine somewhere safer; but I think you can guess the tricky situation she soon finds herself in.


Last Call Lenny by Julien Lasseur (2016) (USA) (12m)

The Grand Prize winner in the 13th FILMSshort competition, Last Call Lenny did very well on the short film festival circuit. It tells the story of Gabe, who has decided to end his life, but needs a little help. Lenny offers his services for people in such a situation. However, the talkative Lenny does not like to make things too simple, and also has to avoid being the one to actually pull the trigger. It seems that Lenny is a disaster looking for somewhere to happen.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry (2019) (USA) (6m)

Hair Love won the Oscar in 2020. This Disneyesque animation (with an anthropomorphic cat thrown in for good measure) tells the story of a young black girl, Zuri, who has an unknown but important reason for wanting to turn her untamed afro into something more appealing today. She attempts to copy one of the hairstyles demonstrated by her favourite vlogger but fails miserably and turns to her father for help. Unfortunately, he sees his daughter's hair as an unconquerable opponent.

The Neighbors' Window by Marshall Curry (2019) (USA) (20m)

The Neighbors' Window - which won the Oscar in 2020 - is an examination of the greeness of the grass on the other side. A middle-aged couple with young children see a young, partying couple move into the apartment opposite, and are immediately reminded of their own unexciting lives. So much so, that the stressed-out mother becomes obsessed with the younger couple. However, everyone faces personal struggles and, after the passing of several seasons, it becomes clear that the couple opposite are facing a traumatic event.


The Silent Child by Chris Overton (2017) (UK) (20m)

The Silent Child is classic Oscar fodder (being a drama featuring a child) and duly won the Academy Award for Best Short Film in 2018. It tells the story of Libby, a deaf 6-year-old girl, who inhabits a silent world (because she has one of the most selfish families in the history of mankind) until a social worker teaches her sign language. It garnered a lot press at the time of its win (compared with other winners), perhaps due to Shenton's previous work on teen soap opera Hollyoaks. It is a solid drama with a great performance from the young Maisie Sly.

Thirst For Fury by Wiebe van den Ende (2016) (Holland/Brazil) (6m)

A look back at one of my favourite films from the FILMSshort competition, Thirst For Fury (Sede de Furia) is a brilliantly simple black comedy. A woman, having returned home from a business trip, is eating dinner with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, the he has a rather brutal confession to make regarding her sister. Worse, the woman has been witholding a dark truth too. Yet all is not as it seems in this unconventional relationship.


Rice Paper by Raphael Erba (2021) (France) (3m)

Another animation from France? I swear this is just coincidence. As if formed of rice paper itself, this animation tells the story of an ancient Chinese painter who captures the uncapturable with amazing ease. Having heard of his skill, the Emperor challenges him to create the most beautiful swan ever painted and is surprised to hear the painter ask for ten years to accomplish the feat. When the Emperor returns ten years later, he is surprised by what the artist has done.


Garden Party by Babikian et al (2017) (France) (7m)

Garden Party starts off like it might be a child-friendly, Pixar-like story about a frog romance, but a darkness lurks behind the film and it turns out to be not at all child-friendly in the end. A male frog is pursuing a female frog, while another frog is chasing a butterfly, and yet another is gobbling down any and all human food it sees. But their habitat is the deserted mansion of a crime boss and there has clearly been some kind of robbery. There is, in truth, not a great deal of story to the film but the animation is admittedly quite brilliant.

Small Deaths

Wild Love by Paul Autric et al (2019) (France) (7m)

Wild Love is a comedy horror that showcases their animation skills to great effect. After her trekking pole accidentally impales an unsuspecting marmot at the bottom of a cliff, a woman and her boyfriend find themselves being hunted by a vengeful posse of the woodland mammals. Can they escape with their lives? It does become reasonably gory so is not suitable for young children, though it does perhaps teach them that it is important to not randomly kill animals.


8 by Acim Vasic (2010) (Serbia/ Swiss) (9m) *

A winter classic, 8 was the winner of the fourth FILMSshort competition some years ago and is a masterful example of how to create a film with no dialogue. Written and directed by Acim Vasic, it follows two soldiers from opposing armies (the naughts and the crosses), who find themselves alone in a snowy forest. A game of cat and mouse ensues as the pendulum swings between them - but there are ultimately few winners in the game of war!


Argentine Tangos by Guy Thys (2006) (Belgium) (14m)

It's that time of the year when I post probably the best Christmas short film in Argentine Tangos (Tanghi Argentini). Nominated for an Oscar in 2008, Argentine Tangos is a beautiful comedy drama full of Christmas spirit. In the film, we follow a middle-aged office-worker trying to fulflil his Christmas passion and conceal a snowy-white lie. I promise you will thank me for showing it to you. It is in Dutch with English subtitles.

Films marked * contain no dialogue. Search the entire website below.

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