Category Archives: On The Short Film Circuit

Who like short shorts? We like shorts shorts!

Private Parts – Short Film

Channel 4’s Random Acts has certainly brought us the weird and wonderful from British and Global film-making. Tackling strange or sometimes hard-hitting subjects with an air of weirdness, the series of short films from talent filmmakers has been a source of emotion and entertainment.

And we’re going to go below the belt with Anna Ginsburg’s superbly eye-opening and colourful look at Private Parts. The film is based on interviews with several different people on sex and genitalia. Though just over three minutes in length, the movie looks at issues surrounding masturbation, the look of vaginas, and pubic hair.

Ginsburg and her team of hearty animators tackle the answers in a brush of excitement and creativity. The film consists of different styles and shapes of genitalia, each bit talking about how they feel about sex and the area downstairs. The main focus is lady areas but men do get to poke their tips and opinions in. The talking heads and lips flap about their issues in a nervous or brash way in order to tackle some taboos about loving yourself wholly and completely. It’s masterfully done and – unsurprisingly – educational as you swallow all these thoughts about Ginsburg is a treasure trove of bouncing, exuberant ideas.

A particular highlight here is a clitoris that turns to express utmost joy at being fondled with, nestled in a vibrant labia. Private Parts is full of drawings and hearty animations such as this and it brings to gleeful life the glorious parts of our bodies. Different strokes are applied with a variety of verve and character. Having this variety  from different animators is a genius concoction and any limp words are happily sprung to life.  All the different opinions one may keep private make give extreme pleasure in this short film.

The House Of Small Cubes – Short Film Review

The idea of flashback through one’s life is a seriously overexplored storytelling technique by now, however, The House Of Small Cubes executes it in a near-perfect way.

Living in a town steadily being submerged, a widower is forced to keep adding levels to his house, always keeping a trap door to the lower floors. After losing his pipe, he decided to journey down the house, bringing back memories of his life.

Kunio Kato’s animation is incredibly beautiful, truly nothing will ever compete with the use of hand drawings for an emotional punch. In here, it is also accompanied by Kenji Kondo’s subtle, yet memorable, score that fits the contemplative nature of the short like a glove.

There’s not much else I can say in a spoiler free review. It’s 12 minutes long with no dialogue and it’s on Netflix. Just watch it.

A Teachable Moment – Short Film Review

Occasionally, your darling precious children will go down the wrong route. Not saying they will, but certainly the allure of being totally and completely naughty could set them off on a horrible path that would see them as degenerates; low-lives behind bars that have smashed all their prospects like the window of the car they’ve just stolen. At some point, a crook will be found in the road, leading your sweetness and light into become, well, a crook.

Oh poor little Henry or Henrietta.

So how do you steer those sticky, loud, and garish angels away from a life of excess, sin, and all the nasty bits in between.)

That’s the plot in Jason Jeffrey’s darkly comic movie A Teachable Moments

The film revolves around a criminal who is shot whilst committing a robbery. Though he makes it some way in his getaway car, he inevitably becomes to week to carry on, collapsing in a heap by the side of the road. When a woman and her young son pull up, he thinks his luck is turned around – that is until she uses his predicament to show her wayward son that crime doesn’t pay.

The short black comedy is a brilliant bite of satire and wit as a man fights for his life against a woman’s nagging parent routine. The delivery is ridiculously good by performances such as dominant Grace Glowicki and the bewildered (and, bleeding from his gut,) Ash Catherwood. Of course, there is the brooding Ethan Tavares who sighs and huffs in the background as a petulant child despite the, you know, gooey bits oozing out of our thieve. It comes together in a wonderful way, centered on the bemusing premise, followed by the accurate dialogue.

A Teachable Moment is a great eight minute film that certainly serves as a wonderful remind of the potholes one could make on the road to ruin. Perhaps to be shown in schools? Perhaps not but it is definitely a movie to make you chuckle.

Bao – Short Film Review

Food is a lot more than something we consume in order to get some energy. Food has emotion. For anyone who ever tucks into a big tub of ice cream the minute they get sad or rages into a plate of noodles, you’ll know that feelings are tied up within breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So much more than this is tradition and family. Heritage and togetherness are flavours that spice up this meals. Recipes that are passed down through generations and are gobbled over dinner tables. Holidays such as Christmas revolves around plates filled with love and care as children flock back to the nest or build new ones for those before. Food is everything to our cultures and our relationships which is why Pixar’s latest short Bao is so important.

Bao is a short film about a woman who’s baozi comes to life when her husband is at work. Raising the dumping as her own, she watches the little food child evolve into a dumpling adult. Despite their closeness at the beginning, she soon realises that they are growing apart and might take drastic measures to prevent that.

Directed by Domnee Shi, this film is such a treat. It is an intimate look at how Bao folds into this masterful piece of a little story. It’s an inventive tale about a mother whose poured so many different ingredients but feels hurt when her son wants doesn’t want to be on the plate anymore (does that analogy work?) Set to an impressive score, this tiny short is moulded into delicious sentimental journey on parenthood and heritage.

Bao is definitely a brilliant highlight of Chinese-Canadian culture. It explores how a Western upbringing with expat parents can shape who you are and how conflict can even be resolved with food. It’s a detailed exploration of the intimacies that our dinners can bring and how we can be defined by our parents and food.

Domnee Shi’s work is a love song to how a parents love is kneaded into our meals.

Watch Bao before Incredibles 2, out from Friday. 

Random Acts: Fern – Short Film Review

Here at We Make Movies On Weekends, we love our weird shorts. I mean, this is coming from a company who produced a short about a murdering piece of furniture. So Channel 4’s Random acts is absolutely perfect for us when it comes for mining the weirdest and most wonderful from upcoming filmmakers. Especially when the perturb with a truly surreal story. And an obsessive plant who falls in love with a woman? Well, that just fits right in our plot plant.

Starring BAFTA-award winning Monica Dolan, the film revolves around a woman whose greenery has become somewhat…posessive.

The darkly humorous short is two minutes of hilarity. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush as director Johnny Kelly and heads straight into the foliage fun. There is the definite wit here and I’d absolutely love to have been on set to see  the comedy, what with the movable plant arms that caress, care, and kill. Underneath the soil, however, is a tenderness and a terror that curls round you.

But, naturally, Dolan is a tour-de-force and not one minute feels unrealistic. There is genuine chemistry between here and the plant which showcases her Dolan’s marvellous talent.

It’s a bizarre but brilliant film with roots of excellence.

Random Acts is available to watch online 

Last Words – Short Film Review

Occasionally you come across a short film that makes you stop and just watch. Instantly, you are captivated and sent into this story through powerful visuals, glorious story-telling, and intense performance. There are goosebumps, shivers down your spine, and you head back to the start to experience it all over again.

Directed by Michael Fisher, Last Words revolves around a woman who, when bitten by a poisonous spider, decides to make a series of phone calls in her last moments. However, the only person to answer is a stranger in an equally precarious situation and the pair bond over their situations.

Based on a poem by Simon Armitage, Fisher’s Last Words is an evocative and powerful short. It is embellished with a terrific quirk and a visual style Each scene has a care and attention to it, allowing moods to contrast through C’s final moments. There are ebbs colours of deep black loss.  shimmering neon purple of “what if”, and a delicate beige hue of humdrum. Fisher and his team work magnificent imagery through cinematography, shifts of camerawork, and the layout of the set.  There is great detail in a few moments and it is a testament to a terrific production layout, intimate direction, and a lot of hard work.

Ruth Bradley is engrossing as C, especially as she is caught paralysed in one spot. The pain, the anguish, the longing, are all amazingly portrayed by Bradley. Ivanno Jeremiah (who worked with Bradley on Channel 4’s Humans,) narrates Armitage’s fantastical yet real poem. Not to be hyperbolic, but Jeremiah has one of the best voices I have ever heard in my life. In fact, he now narrates the story of my life in my head. There is no other-voice. Screw Freeman. Screw Offerman. Screw Hammer. Jeremiah has a silky, soothing voice impeccably made to recite verse and, heck, a shopping list would roll elegantly off his tongue and sound like Shakespeare.

…Anyway, Jeremiah’s handling of Armitage’s words allows the poetry to match the intensity and colour. At every level, Last Words is enthused with vividness and dream-like wonder.

My Last Words? This short is amazing.

Don’t miss out on Random Acts over at Channel 4!