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Film Of The Week: Feast


Feast by Patrick Osborne (2014) (USA) (7m) *

Posting Dear Basketball reminded of this superior Oscar-winning animation. Proving that the Academy is made up of dog lovers, Feast, like Mr Hublot, has a dog at the centre of the story. Its director, Patrick Osborne, had also worked on Disney's Oscar-winning short animation, Paperman, so it was always likely to fare well. Winston is a dog living on the street until he is taken in by a couple who work at a restaurant. Despite apparently horribly overfeeding him, Winston maintains a healthy weight and when the couple's relationship hits the rock only he can save it.

Dear Basketball by Glen Keane (2017) (USA) (4m)

Dear Basketball won the Best Animated Short Film Academy Award in 2018. One suspects that it would not have won the award if the Oscars were not held in the United States, where basketball is so popular and such overt mawkishness is seemingly more acceptable than in Europe. It probably did not hurt that most Academy members live in LA, and Bryant played for the LA Lakers. The title is pretty self-explanatory: it is a valedictory love-letter from Kobe Bryant to basketball, the sport that made him a superstar.


Maurice by Francois Jaros (2015) (Canada) (13m)

Maurice is a French-language short film from Canada. It tells the story of the eponymous Maurice, who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and decided to take his own life before he loses his autonomy. Thus he sets about putting his affairs in order before the day of his suicide arrives. Maurice manages to negotiate this sentimental subject matter without being too mawkish and although it is Canadian, the film feels very French in its mien (pun intended).


A Woman And Her Car by Loic Darses & Lucie Tremblay (2015) (Canada) (28m)

In competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, this short documentary is a real "found footage" film: Loic Darses found old video tapes his mother, Lucie Tremblay, had recorded in 2003 and pieced them together. Lucie had recorded her long journey through Canada to deliver a letter to the man who abused her as young girl. A poor camerawoman with an average video camera, at times there is little more than sound, but this does not detract from the tension when Lucie finally confonts are aged abuser. Loic then juxtaposes this soul-searching journey with the video footage Lucie took of the family.

For Nonna Anna (2017) (Canada) (15m)

For Nonna Anna won the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. It tells the story of Chris, a transgender teenager who is caring for her elderly, Italian grandmother (nonna). Chris expects her nonna to disapprove of her new gender but will the older woman surprise her? There is little dialogue - and what little there is often in Italian - making it feel like a mood piece and somewhat reminiscent (like many festival films) of Lynne Ramsay's early shorts. It is also filmed in the 4:3 format made popular by Andrea Arnold.


Negative Space by Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter (2017) (France) (5m)

Made by the Japanese/American animation duo of Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter, but financed by French entities, Negative Space was nominated for the Academy Award in 2018 after winning many awards at short film festivals around the world. A beautifully made stop-motion animation, it tells the story of Sam, who learned how to pack a suitcase from his father, who was often away from home. As Sam now packs his suitcase for an important trip, it keeps him connected to a parent who was often absent.

Small Deaths

WOW by Chic & Artistic (2016) (France) (5m) *

With the winners of the last competition now on their own page, here's a look back a previous competition film. The dialogue-free WOW is a palindromic film; meaning that it is the same backwards as it is forwards. This is an interesting conceit in a short film, for when certain scenes are played backwards, their meanings appears to be reversed too. So in a love story, a beginning becomes an ending, a connection becomes a separation. The film stars two French models: lingerie model Charlene Perillat and Kevin Drelon.


Salam by Claire Fowler (2018) (USA) (14m)

Salam was supported by the Shore Scripts Short Film Fund and was selected for some of the best film festivals in the UK and USA. It takes place over the course of one night and tells the story of the eponymous Salam, a Palastinian working as a Lyft (like Uber) driver in New York. She hears a family member has been injured in a bombing just before she picks up an American woman who appears to be running away from an abusive partner. The two women make a strange connection before Salam finally hears news from home.

Caroline by Logan George & Celine Held (2018) (USA) (11m)

Caroline is very - and I mean very - reminiscent of Andrea Arnold's 2003 Oscar winning short film Wasp. That is not to say that Caroline is not a very accomplished film with wonderful acting - especially from its young lead - in its own right. Caroline is set in North America and tells the story of a single mother with an interview but no-one to look after her three young children, the eldest of which is called Caroline. She has little choice but to leave them in the car while she goes inside for the interview but concerned passers-by soon get involved.

Autumn Leaves by Saman Hosseinpuor (2015) (Iran) (4m) *

Written and directed by Iranian filmmaker Saman Hosseinpuor, Autumn Leaves was voted Best Short Short in the 10th FILMSshort competition. It tells the story of a little girl who wants to stay at home and play with a fallen leaf but must go to school instead. We follow her as she makes her way through the streets until she arrives at school, where leaves are no longer a source of amusement. It is a subtle, dialogue-free film full of beautiful shots and showing a side of Iran not normally seen by Westerners.

Your Eyes, Will I Ever by Félicien Colmet Daâge ('18) (France) (4m)

Your Eyes, Will I Ever has won the Best Animated Short Film award in the FILMSshort competiton. Directed by Paris-based animator Félicien Colmet Daâge for the titular song by four-person French band, Krill. It focuses on a couple who live a cocooned life in the middle of a desert populated by massive butterflies. The woman in the couple is captivated by the huge insects and the man soon finds her in a literal cocoon as she begins her metamorphosis.


The Moon Fall Unconscious by Nico Scheepers (2017) (SA) (23m)

The winner of the GRAND PRIZE is The Moon Falls Unconscious (Die Maan Val Bewusteloos), a beautifully made fantasy short film from South Africa. Made in Afrikaans (a language derived from Dutch), it tells the story of the young Mia, who lives with her caring but ageing grandparents and wants to learn where she came from. All she knows are the fairytales that her grandparents have told her. But what really happened to the rest of her family?


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