Soft Sun

There is something about making a film without dialogue that makes the feat of producing a clear and coherent film all the more impressive. Whilst many directors and producers use this trope as a form of self flagellation and a way to show off their artistry, usually unsuccessfully, every now and then a film comes along where the silence is part of the narrative, a natural part of the film that emphasises story rather than the directors chops.

Soft Sun is one of those films. There is no need for dialogue here as everything is dealt with by metaphor and subtext. The vastness of the rugged terrain that surrounds them and their actions and facial expressions are all that are needed to portray the drama and emotion within this story, and there is emotion and tension in bucket loads.

The soundtrack also Aidan in setting the tone and atmosphere of the scene and is used skilfully to give each scene the gravitas and atmosphere that it needs. Often in films without dialogue, music is what drives the scenes in terms of auditory stimulation, and that makes the choice of music much more important. In the film it is done impeccably.

Soft Sun is a great example of dialogue free filming that utilises setting, strong physical acting and music to create atmosphere, tension and emotion.

New Heaven and New Earth

This film is an interesting take on the kid of religious film that most of us experienced at school. Whilst for many of us, this may bring back feelings if boredom or monotony, that is far from what this film provides. It is a unique and diverse representation of religious text and messages presented in a variety of methods.

From the outset, we are presented with drama and something that is far from what we may expect from a religious, educational and message driven film. The pain and suffering portrayed are obvious and penetrating, with some no holes barred performances.

From here we are transported to a completely different world presented in anime. This is a wonderfully animated version of the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with a typically anime take that adds a wealth of entertainment to the story.

This film utilises. Number of mediums to present its message and it’s through this variety that those messages stick. From pure drama, to anime, to interpretive dance and the final ‘big number’ of the tropes of other forms of entertainment are molders into one to make a memorable and unique experience for the audience. It certainly isn’t what you would expect at Sunday school.

Well edited and constructed, this a an impressive feat and one of the most entertaining religious films tha tthis reviewer has seen in a while.

Waiting Room

This short reminded me of the 90s film The Hand That Rockes the Cradle, in that it had that same disturbing, simmering intensity. The pace is slow, yet your heartbeat quickens as the film moves forward.

What works so well in this film is its unassuming nature. There is no real lead up, no foreshadowing or set up. It remains relaxed in its presentation and allows the audience to slowly piece together what’s happening. The music and the whole ambience of the film juxtaposes well with the actual plot and is filled to the brim with tension.

The lead actress, Ita Korenzecher, does a magnificent job of delivering a performance that is understated yet truly chilling. Her calm, matter of fact manner is what delivers the most tension within the film and it is done expertly. Utterly cold and pretty terrifying by the conclusion.

The dialogue is intimidating and threatening but not insulated. Way that is up front or in your face. There is a glorious use of subtext within the lines that provides the audience with that unknowing terror that comes with not being able to predict someone’s actions. Because the lead has such a good poker face, no one knows where this is going to go next and that’s what keeps the audience glued to the film.

A wonderful example of tense, subliminal drama that is a shining example of how to make an edge of your seat film that isn’t over the top.

What is Real

There are endless short films out there that deal with the paranormal. There are endless feature films that deal with the paranormal. The majority are either horror/thrillers or satire, yet every now and then a charming little film comes through that is neither. Here we have one of those films.

This short isn’t horror, and it isn’t satire. It’s more drama with a hint of lightness. It’s simple yet effective style works well and it doesn’t go over the top. In fact, despite its paranormal leanings the occurrences feel almost normal because they are so understated, at least at the beginning.

This film never ventures into territory that it shouldn’t. It doesn’t suddenly turn into a horror or a thriller. The ending is as understated as the rest of the film giving it an almost open feel, that leaves the audience thinking and providing an opportunity for their own interpretation.

The lead gives a strong performance, given that he is acting against nothing for the majority of the film. The fun is well constructed and presented, with a score that keeps the mood light. An enjoyable and interesting short film.

In Through the Night

It can be difficult to get across to an audience, a story or a message in a film that is shorter than five minutes, especially when using subtext and relying upon the audiences’ ability to interpret what is being presented to them. Here we find a film that manages to do just that, and do it with panache.

There is a lot of style in this film, which is impressive in a film that is seemingly so simple and limited in terms of location and casting. Despite these limitations the film is beautiful and incredibly well presented. It is polished and edited to perfection, with beautiful yet simple imagery. There is much to be taken from the background and seemingly insignificant in this film, as much as can be taken from the forefront and the dialogue.

What works so well in this film is its ability to be unassuming. In its surface, it is a girl applying make up and a voice over giving her inner monologue, and yet there is so much more going on without it taking over the film. The lead actress is so comfortable and confident in front of camera, the fact she has no dialogue is irrelevant. Her performance is sublime without it.

This film is a glorious example of how to produce an understated yet effective short film.

City of My Heart

With the help of a soundtrack that is very traditional and inspiring at the same time, Ciudad de mi Corazón shares beautiful postcards of the places and people that fill the city of Madrid with life with a viewership not often used to these landscapes. Even as one of the most talked about country as to the horror genre, Spain remains a filmmaking force the regular moviegoer does not generally know. The colors and lights, the fountains and monuments, the people make the city of Madrid a cozy environment, and even if the architecture shown has become famous all over the world, seeing it in Europe, its original place, has a special taste. Ciudad de mi Corazón, for many, won’t be much more than an inspirational video with pretty people and streets to look at, but in reality, it is hiding much much more. A near religious voice with a message of longing and love for what a skeptic could say is no more than some concrete on dirt is the perfect setting for a beautiful community and their tiny everyday stories.

There is some serious mystery in the kind of things the city of Madrid is being asked. A request that sounds more like a prayer is narrated by the beautiful voice of Elena García, an involuntary list of wishes and hopes that might as well be the thoughts of every soul living in this gorgeous Spanish city. Everyday life in an urban environment, even being similar to the of any other old city in the world, can have its own little character, like the faint smell of a stranger’s flavored cigarette on a rainy day. A city is like a body: all parts are in constant motion, all organs interacting with each other and letting life flow around in complete freedom. The way people act in Ciudad de mi Corazón shows a lot of color, personalities and behaviours. Different ages, natures, habits and professions show us the many shapes human art and work can take in an environment that absorbs them all regardless of skin color, gender, origin, age and religion.

The landscapes picked for this short are, more than any other element of this short, the most effective way to get the viewers to fill their lungs with air, to be inspired and moved by these stories, so similar to their own, but also developed in a very different world. With little effort, the team involved in Ciudad de mi Corazón shows off their skill at photography, at capturing life and keeping a certain time and space safe in their data storage devices and our memories. There are few things as beautiful as a single person developing its filmmaking skills and giving the world a piece showcasing a harmony of different skills and views on a subject rather than the result of a creative dictatorship only possible when a group of artists is involved. Ciudad de mi Corazón is clearly the former: the way Kostas Petsas managed to give random citizens enough space to show a side of their life in the city without ending up with a one-hour short shows pure skill, not only as a filmmaker, but as a storyteller as well. This is definitely a career to keep an eye on, great things can be made with the creative power Petsas is holding.

Drilling Holes into the Sun

Ordinarily, a film with so many juxtaposing styles within itself would result in a feeling of confusion and disjointedness. Yet here they are meshed together and their opposition to each other works to promote the the message of the film and differences in the two characters personalities and mental state.

The use of a slow, dramatic monologue intermingled with fast paced dance music and interpretitive movement pieces pro ides the audience with ongoing stimulation and it works in an almost two-tone way, with one complimenting the other. From a slow, intense unwaivering monologue to very stimulating visuals to heavy music, it’s almost like a film version of Bipolar Disorder.

What works so well in this film is that it shouldn’t work. It should feel like a mess, and yet it doesn’t. Each section lasts just the right amkount of time before it outstays it’s welcome and it moves on so you are presented with something different and yet perfectly acceptable within this context. Somehow the director has found a balance that is rare and a little bit beautiful.

The monologue is deep and well written in the deeper sections and the choice of music is exceptional. The movements within the dance sections are fluid and performed perfectly, with cast members flowing like lava lamps.

Here is a piece of film that is truly original, without wearing a neon sign that promotes it’s individuality. It is what it is, and that works.