Tag Archives: Short Film

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. 

The Rogue Table – Short Film

The Rogue Table follows John, a lazy “young professional” who couldn’t care less about life really. He works to eat, he works to drink and he works to party. Disregarding the feelings of his furniture has never been a massive deal for him but it has for his table. And now the table has got feelings…of revenge!

Starring Vedi Roy
Directed by Sarah Cook
Written by Sarah Cook
Produced by Gloria Daniel-Moss
DOP – Sean Narborough
Sound by Graham Osborne
Script Supervisor by Jo Johnstone
Runners – Leah Stone
Executive Producers – William John and Graham Osborne
In collaboration with IWG Productions and Cookie N Screen Films

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 

The Sandman (1992) – Short Film Review

“Mr Sandman, bring me a dream”

More like bring me a Nightmare…

The modern perception of The Sandman legend is a creature that uses sand to bring dreams to sleeping children. Like the character from Rise of the Guardians, he is the protector of children and giver of pleasant fantasies. Yet in director Paul Berry’s dark vision of The Sandman, he is a creature to be feared indeed.

 The short opens looking over a mountain filled landscape. We come to a small house where a sewing woman and a boy, (presumably her son) sit. As the clock strikes eight, the woman gives the boy a light and sends him to bed. Clearly afraid, the boys makes his way up the dark, dank staircase to his room. In bed, the boys lies restlessly looking out at the moon. The creasant moon soon morphs with the curved nose and chin of a sinister creature. The boy rubs his eyes in disbelief and the creature disappears. He tries once again to go to sleep but the creature is now inside the house.

He creaks the stairs and makes eerie noises to frighten the boy, who pulls his covers over his eyes. Slowly his covers are pulled back by his mother who gently tucks him in. Once alone the creature steps out of the shadows to approach the bed, the boy opens his eyes and comes face to face with the horrific creature.

In shadowed silhouette, we see the creature violently steal something from the boy before returning to his home. On the moon the creature returns to his nest where three of its babies await. Only when he opens his pouch to feed them is it clear what he has stolen from the boy. We return to the boy and see him blindly join other children who have shared the same horrific fate.

Director Paul Berry worked as an animated under Henry Selick on The Nightmare Before ChristmasJames and the Giant Peach as well as Monkeybone. Here he takes the directors chair for a film that was inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s version of The Sandman legend.

 Image result for the sandman short film

The films visual style has borrowed heavily from German Expressionism. Like Burton’s Vincent short, it is characterised by jagged edges and surreal proportions. Every set piece has a sharp edge that warns of foreboding dread. Shadows stretch out across the screen as if reaching for something and darkness contrasts the small sections of light used.

His two human characters, whilst the innocence of the film, also have a Gothic edge. With dark circles around their eyes and angular cheek and chins. The Sandman himself is a grotesque being. With exaggerated features on his body and a style of movement that brings to mind the child-catcher of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Balletic but mencing. With the feathered upper body of a bird and a chin/nose that mirror the creasant moon he calls his home.

The short contains no dialogue but mixes an eerie score with silence and diagetic sound. Foot steps and creaking stairs are all used to build tension and suspense.

A short film that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Eerie yet beautifully imagined, its a sinister take on an established myth. Paul Berry was clearly a talented director as well as animator. Sadly, Berry past away in 2001 of a brain tumour. But the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short and stands as a testimonial of Berry’s talent.

Happy Halloween!

Shorts at the Ritzy

Everybody loves shorts, it’s a simple fact of life.

They keep you cool in the summer by allowing a gentle breeze to caress your shins and knees and there’s even a song about them.

But I’m not here to discuss the garment, I’m talking about the return of the Ritzy Shorts!

The evening, held on September 28th, follows on from last year’s Pop Ritzy Local Shorts and will once again showcase the best short films from the local area from filmmakers new and old alike.

The evening promises to be a wonderful event featuring an eclectic selection, such as;

Madeleine (Dir. Ollie Verschoyle) In a small American town a mundane event offers a glimpse a normally unseen world of mysterious connections.

Meat on Bones (Dir. Joe Ollman) An exploration of the relationship between two opposites in a political system and how social and emotional isolation has affected them.

Nasty (Dir. Prano Bailey Bond) It’s 1982. Twelve-year old Doug is drawn into the lurid world of VHS video nasties as he explores the mysterious disappearance of his father.

Duke’s Pursuit (Dir. Charlie Edwards-Moss and Joe Williams) A revenge-obsessed industrialist hunts a former colleague and forms a partnership with an unlikely ally in this Icelandic set dark comedy thriller.

There’s plenty more on offer, so be sure to check out the website to see what else you could be missing out on.

Ritzy Shorts is on September 28th, make sure to book your tickets in advance!

Short Circuit: Total Performance

One of the many frustrating feelings that come with being an aspiring screenwriter is the all to frequent envy of seeing an idea in a film and thinking “God, why didn’t I think of that?” We’ve all had it; a genius idea so good that we’re angry it isn’t ours, and have to accept the fact that it’s probably that good just because it wasn’t ours. I got that feeling just reading the plot description for Total Performance, let alone the actual film.

The film stars Tory Berner as Cori, an actress who’s work involved being hired out from a company to rehearse difficult conversations. Break ups, confessions, firings, just about anything, there to help the client vent and practise the intensely emotional discussions they’re forced to have. A “human sparring dummy”, if you will. But Tory has bigger aspirations for her professional and personal life, neither of which are really working out.

The idea of a company that hires actors to practise difficult conversations is nothing short of tremendous; there are so many possibilities with it, so many good and bad implications that are well explored in the film’s short run time. In under 20 minutes, the film gives a clear and thorough explanation of the business, almost immediately followed by it’s questionable aspects. Tory Berner is excellent in the lead, and overall, the film delivers in both a narrative and stylistic way.

Having said that, this is definitely something that lends itself to feature length; while what the film achieves in it’s run time is impressive, it feels like so much more needs to take place before the reasonably dark climax for it to have an impact. It just needs a touch more of every aspect before it can hit the highs it needs to. Still, getting a feature length film made on a low budget is tricky, and ultimately there isn’t really anything wrong with the film as it stands. It uses it’s time well, delivers on a great idea and features great performances. Total Performance is most certainly worth your time.