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Film Of The Week: Mouse X

World of Glory

Mouse X by Justin Tagg (2015) (15m) (UK)

Mouse X is a dialogue-free, mind-binding sci-fi short film inspired by the infinity-exploring works of Dutch painter M.C. Escher. A man wakes up in a room, with nothing but a book, a mouse and a large mouse hole. He tries to make his escape but soon discovers he is part of something weird and, ultimately, infinite. Although very different, it calls to mind the Oscar-winning short animation Tango.

The Tunnel by Andre Ovredal (2016) (Norway) (14m)

A Norwegian family have spent the afternoon at the beach - where they were allowed one hour in the water - and are now returning to their overpopulated city in their self-driving car via one of the tunnels, the only way in and out of the metropolis. However, the tunnels are also used for population control. It is an extremely well-made and tense film with amazing VFX and disturbing Nazi connotations - but the premise is, of course, quite ridiculous.


Sides Of A Horn by Toby Crossbow (2018) (South Africa) (17m)

Sides Of A Horn was long-listed for the short film Oscar. Shot on location and based on actual events, this drama short film tells the story of South Africa's rhino poaching war from both sides of the fence. It follows two men, Dumi and Sello, who are brothers-in-law but fighting on different sides of the conflict. With a rhino horn worth a year's wages in the poverty stricken slums, it is easy to understand why a desperate man would kill a wild animal.

Hudson Geese by Bernardo Britto (2020) (USA) (5m)

Written and directed by Bernardo Britto, who had previously made the Sundance-winning Yearbook, the short animation Hudson Geese really spoke to me as its premise was something that had actually crossed my mind (our speciesism is pretty disgusting). It tells the story of a male goose who visits the Hudson River on his way north to Canada. On his way out he meets with disaster, but who will remember him and his friends in the aftermath? Will Clint Eastwood make a film about them?

Tales From The Multiverse by Moller, Tange & Smith (2020) (Denmark) (7m)

Tales from the Multiverse is an amusing mishmash of different ideas (some original), and calls to mind works as varied as 2001: A Space Odyssey and multiverse episodes of Family Guy and The Simpsons. In Tales from the Multiverse, God is a single parent and amateur programmer struggling with 1990s world-building software. He perhaps does not put as much thought into his new project as he should before simulating it.


Paag by Nardeep Khurmi (2018) (USA) (17m)

Paag won Best Drama at the 2018 LA Shorts Fest. It is a subtle short film and a bit of a slow-burner, but it is very nicely made and worth sticking with. It centres on Mandeep, an American with a wife and young son. It is July 4th and a racist shooting of a member of his community has left Mandeep contemplating how he is treated in his homeland - from people avoiding him on the subway to outright racist abuse. How will Mandeep react to a day full of racism?


A Place To Bowl by Gabe Jacobs (2020) (USA) (7m)

Proving that I do watch the short films that are sent in to me, here is a nicely made short documentary about an ageing group of ten-pin bowlers and their Queens bowling alley. It is the debut short film from American director Gabe Jacobs, who sent it to me. American bowling alleys have been slowly dying out since their heyday but this one remains a vital refuge. It reminds me a little of our competition winning short documentary Conrad and the Steamplant, which is of course a wonderful film.

Small Deaths

The Basket by Suresh Eriyat (2020) (India) (14m)

The stop-motion short film The Basket (Tokri) apparently took eight years to complete. It tells the story of a poor Indian girl, who makes baskets instead of going to school and lives with her parents in squalid conditions in an Indian city. However, she has a loving relationship with her parents, especially her playful father. When she discovers his precious heirloom and accidentally breaks it, she needs a way to fix the situation. But India is a hard place to survive.


Rebooted by Michael Shanks (2019) (Australia) 12m)

the dialogue-free comedy Rebooted owes a clear debt to Who Frames Roger Rabbit. In Rebooted, which mises live-action and animation, the story focuses on a skeletal monster (he is literally a skeleton) who appeared in a Jason And The Argonauts type film many years ago (anyone over the age of 40 will know what scene I mean), but is now struggling to find work as a real-world skeleton in an industry dominated by VFX monsters.

Stone Cars

The Walking Fish by T Meijer (2018) (Holland/Japan) (19m)

The Walking Fish, pitched as a "tragicomic short film about ambition", is simply a contemporary fairy tale to me. It centres on Mutsumi, a normal mudskipper (walking fish), who is taken home by a boy and starts turning into a human (evolution at hyper-speed). How or why this happens is glossed over like the best of fairy tales but Mutsumi is soon looking pretty human. However, she has to work extra hard to become perfectly human and can never escape her origins.


Chronos by Andre Chocron (2019) (UK) (25m)

Chronos is an incredibly impressive one-shot sci-fi thriller that is close to brilliant but let down slightly by the script and a few (just a few) poorly delivered lines. Set in a pub, apparently disparate groups of patrons spend an everyday evening with most of them not knowing that they are trapped in a time loop. Yet events are never quite the same, and the reason is perhaps too complex to work out during the film. The whole thing spawns from two patrons (or is it four?), Nick and Tom, young physicists who have discovered a new way to look at time.



Kingsland #1: The Dreamer by Tony Grisoni (2008) (UK) (20m)

Kingsland #1: The Dreamer was written and directed by London-born Tony Grisoni, who had already forged a successful writing career before trying his hand at directing. Kingsland follows the story of a Kurdish immigrant who has arrived in London with nothing and soon finds himself involved in a dark world with fellow Kurds. It is entitled #1: The Dreamer because it was intended as the first of five chapters of a feature.

My Time by Giulia Gandini (2018) (UK) (6m)

My Time is a short drama that centres on Ava, a typical British schoolgirl, who is about to give a classroom presentation. The only problem is that she she will get her first period just before she is meant to go up, an event for which she is not well-prepared (but then how do you prepare for your first period?). With a blood-stained skirt and the clock ticking down, how can she save her blushes?


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