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Film Of The Week: World of Glory

World of Glory

World Of Glory by Roy Andersson (1991) (14m) (Sweden)

If you watch it once you will never forget World of Glory (Härlig är jorden), written and directed by Roy Andersson. What exactly it is trying to say I am, to be honest, not completely sure but the opening scene is so absolutely and excruciatingly horrifying you will be pondering its meaning for a while. Andersson was born in wartime Europe and was in his late 40s when he made this. He has since moved onto feature films and I suspect that they are similarly unique...

Over by Jorn Threlfall (2015) (UK) (14m)

Above was nominated for a BAFTA in 2016, the year that Operator won. Mostly told through a series of external wide shots shown in reverse order, this drama short film is focused on a crime scene. Someone has died but how exactly did that happen? It is extremely effective and surprisingly tense as we wait for the event to happen. The event itself was inspired by a true story.


The Blue Door by Paul Taylor (2017) (UK) (9m)

The Blue Door stars Gemma Whelan (from Game of Thrones), who plays a care assistant visiting the home of an elderly lady to deliver palliative care. She comes across a blue door she had not previously noticed but instinctively fears: especially when someone or something tries to open it from the other side. It is perhaps a little slow to begin with but is very nicely made and well-acted, and reminds me of The French Doorsamong others.

The Party by Andrea Harkin (2016) (UK) (15m)

The Party was nominated for the Best British Short Film BAFTA in 2017. Set in Belfast in 1972, during the The Troubles (the Nationalist-Loyalist conflict that blighted Northern Ireland for three decades), this drama short film revolves around a small, teen house party, where the wanted Mickey (an Irish Nationalist) is the guest of honour. Drinking, dancing and romance is followed by the reality of being on the run with the British Army after you in Belfast.

Maja by Marijana Jankovich (2018) (Denmark) (21m)

Maja is a touching tribute to immigrant workers. It is a little long but that can be excused by the quite astonishing acting of its young lead, Selena Marsenic (think how stupid you were when you were her age). Marsenic plays the title character, a six-year-old Serbian girl who has come with her parents to live in Denmark. They drop her off at kindergarten in the morning but it becomes clear that neither she nor her parents speak much Danish. The kindergarten teacher cannot understand why Maja is so keen to clean up after her classmates but there is, of course, a reason.


The Foster Portfolio by Danielle Katvan (2017) (USA) (19m)

Based on the 1951 short story by the late American author Kurt Vonnegut, The Foster Portfolio was adapted and directed by Danielle Katvan. If follows the story of Jim Crane, an investment advisor, who stumbles across a man living from hand to mouth but with a secret fortune: Herbert Foster. But just why is Foster so disinterested in his inheritance? It is, without doubt, an extremely well-made and engaging film that closely follows the novella.

Small Deaths


Intersection by Brendan Beachman (2014) (USA) (20m)

Intersection showed at festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Inspired by his own summer jobs, Intersection is a black comedy telling the story of two road construction workers who are dropped off in the middle of nowhere to police the non-existent traffic at a desert intersection (crossroads). The monotony of the dusty day is broken by the violent arrival of a meteorite and the belief that this astral object may be worth a lot of money.

Place by Jason Gudasz (2019) (USA) (11m)

Place was in competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, showing that such films are coming online much more quickly (unless they win) than used to be the case and Sundance has an increasing preference for the unusual when all other variables are the same. Place is a psychological horror in which a new family moves into a new house but, after discovering someone has died there, find that malign spirits within the house intend to turn them against each other in peculiar fashion.


73 Cows by Alex Lockwood (2018) (UK) (15m)

The documentary 73 Cows won the Best Short Film BAFTA in 2019. It tells the story of Jay Wilde, a cattle farmer who finds taking his cows to slaughter to be "soul-destroying" having realised that they are in fact sentient beings. As a vegan, I admire its sentiments but do also wonder why it took him so longer to work out what he is doing is wrong. It is very unusual for a documentary to win the BAFTA. It is certainly well made with some lovely cinematography, and sweet, but why it was considered worthy of the BAFTA is harder to know.

Stone Cars


Omnibus by Sam Karmann (1992) (France) (8m)

A look back at an all-time classic. Omnibus, co-written by Sam Karmann & Christian Rauth, won the Best Short Film Oscar, Palme d'Or and BAFTA during the 1992/1993 awards season (that's a grand slam in my British-biased books). It is a black comedy about a man on a non-stop train desparately trying to convince first the conductor and then the driver to let him off at an intermediate station. Karmann is now best known as an actor on French TV.

The Orchestra (2015) (Australia) (13m)

The Orchestra is an animation that feels like a cross between the Oscar-winning House On Little Cubes and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. In this case, instead of dæmons everyone has their own little orchestra following them around. Unfortunately, for the elderly Vernon, his orchestra of mini-mes is always striking the wrong note. When an eligible woman moves into the adjoining apartment, Vernon decides he must finally teach his band to play in harmony.


Cindy's New Boyfriend by Robert Brinkmann (2015) (USA) (23m)

Written by Sean Sellars and directed by Robert Brinkmann, the comic Cindy's New Boyfriend is just all-round good filmmaking. Cindy is the ex-girlfriend of Spencer, who persuades his friend Nick that he should use his acting talent to scare off Cindy's new boyfriend. However, things go wrong when Cindy's new boyfriend turns out to be a man not easily scared. Brinkmann is better known as a cinematographer, shooting such films as The Cable Guy.

The Mother by Anh Le Huy (2020) (Vietnam) (5m)

The Mother is a tear-jerking drama about a man making a long and emotional journey home. Beginning in a snowy city, you know you are in safe hands with the accomplished VFX, and Anh's background in advertising soon shines through with his quick edits and short scenes. Indeed, it almost feels like a trailer for a feature film; perhaps because, despite its short running time, it crams in a bewildering number of high-class shots: it feels like no expense was spared in making this film, and must have taken a long time to complete.


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