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En marchant (1968)
People walking, that's it
"En marchant" or "Walking" is a Canadian 5-minute animated short film from 1968, which means 2 more years and then this one will have its 50th anniversary. The writer and director here is Ryan Larkin and this is his most known work today probably still, at least his most successful as it was nominated for an Academy Award back in 1970. It is pretty short and basically all about the styles in which people walk. The colors elevated the material and added some style to it, the nudity on one occasion added nothing really and was probably just included to make it seem more controversial and more grown-up. I know that Larkin is appreciated by many young filmmakers today and I also know that a film about him won an Oscar too, but looking at this one here I cannot see the praise. it also shows that animation in the 1960s was really not great at all if this one is considered a contended for "Best of the Year". I give it a thumbs-down. Not recommended.
The Unicorn in the Garden (1953)
"The Unicorn in the Garden" is an animated short film from 1953, which had its 60th anniversary a couple years ago and tells us the story of a husband and his wife. And a unicorn! The man sees a unicorn in the garden and tells his wife. She says it's nonsense, but he is resilient and finally gets his wife to take a look. Of course, by then the unicorn is long gone if it ever existed at all. The wife is downright evil though and tries to get her husband sent to a psychiatric ward to get rid of him, but her plan is not working in the very end. The ending was pretty cruel, but also entertaining. I must still say it went against the first couple minutes. So there never was a unicorn and it was just the man's plan and the audience was fooled? I am not sure. But I don't even dare asking if there really was a unicorn in the garden? Because the answer obviously would be: Of course not! A unicorn is a mythical creature. Little fun cartoon. Go see it.
Broken manufacturing, broken filmmaking?
"Manufraktur" or "Manufractur" is an Austrian 3-minute short film from 1985, so it had its 30th anniversary last year. The writer and director is Peter Tscherkassky, so maybe you know already what to expect as this is one of his many experimental films. It is in black-and-white and includes scenes of "broken" footage mostly involving cars. There is no story here, no plot, nothing, but that's not really news for Tscherkassky. I myself am not the biggest experimental film fan, but I have seen many films from the genre that are superior. I personally did not enjoy the watch at all and I was glad it ended so quickly. Maybe you need to love experimental films to appreciate this one, or at least cars. I appreciate neither and that's why I give it a thumbs-down, even if I will admit it's far from the worst I have seen from Tscherkassky. Still, thumbs down.
A positive surprise
This is "James", a 17.5-minute live action from 2008, so it will soon have its 10th anniversary. It is a British production and the writer and director is Connor Clements. Yes it is another of these gay-themed short films and if you have seen some of these, you will know that this genre is packed with works that offer very little, frequently even nothing except completely unrealistic story-lines. This one here is the exception that confirms the rule. i kinda enjoyed the watch. I think all the actors in here were convincing and that includes the parents, the teacher and also the child actor who plays the main character, a boy confused about his own feelings. This is a good piece of writing too. The reaction of the teacher when the boy asks him about it is extremely realistic and accurate and I was happy to see it. These films go way too frequently for happy endings that lack realism completely and don't make any sense at all. But this is not what life is. Life is the way it is depicted in this brief film. I recommend the watch, thumbs up.
Two-Gun Gussie (1918)
Western action with Harold Lloyd
"Two-Gun Gussie" is a 10-minute short film from 1918, which means it will have its 100th anniversary soon. The director is Alfred J. Goulding and writer is H.M. Walker and this duo is known to have worked on many black-and-white silent films that are still somewhat known today, almost a century later. And this is one of them. It shows us Harold Lloyd in the Wild West. He is in a bar and it is kinda fun to see him next to all these rough cowboys with their mustaches. Talk about wrong place wrong time really for Lloyd. He looks so harmless with his glasses and innocent face expression. You probably know him and his looks, so you know what I am talking about. but badly for him, and luckily for us, he really starts believing he was one of these rough Wild West guys too and hilarity ensues. I think this film was above-average for its time. Nothing too great or funny, but it's really the setting and the contrast that make this one work somehow. Supporting actors include Snub Pollard with the biggest mustache of them all and Lloyd's regular leading lady Bebe Daniels. Oh yeah, Lloyd was only in his mid-20s here, but extremely experienced already through all the films he made in the previous 3 years.
Mi amigo Jaime (2013)
Not a good film at all
"Mi amigo Jaime" or "My Friend Jaime" is a Spanish(-language" short film that runs for 7 minutes and was made back in 2013, so a fairly new movie. It was directed by Alejandro Beltrán and written by Alex Beltrán. My guess is that it's incorrect on IMDb and these two are actually the same person, but I may be wrong and the two are relatives or they just have no genetic connection and all and have the same name through coincidence. Anyway, this is a gay-themed short film. It's about a young guy who is gay and has a crush on his buddy. I found it really unrealistic that he would just kiss him out of nowhere at some point. And the ending is even more unrealistic. I am trying to see this just as a kiss between friends, but even if it was then the other guy never would have done it knowing what his friend feels, because this way he only gives him more hope. What I think instead is that we have a completely unrealistic happy ending as they are so frequent in gay-themed films where the other guy was suddenly a closeted homosexual too. Doesn't make any sense and I give this one a thumbs down, but hey at least Carla was pretty hot.
The real Elephant Man
"Elefante" is a Spanish(-language) short film that runs for 9 minutes and was released back in 2011, so it has its 5th anniversary this year. The writer and director is Pablo Larcuen and this is certainly still his most known works. It seems as if the feature film he made afterwards was not seen by many and liked by even less. Here we have the story of a man who leads a normal life (office, family, friends) that he is fairly unhappy with. Then a very rare disease is diagnosed: He is turning into an elephant. This changes everything and quickly afterward we see the man with his family, but now he has already transformed into an elephant, even if his brain still works like the one of a human. Many complications ensue and the police even has to intervene. In the end, many decades later we see he lives in a zoo now, but he still has what was most important to him: the love of his son. This was a pretty bizarre little film, yet it turned out touching too. I recommend the watch.
Tonight It's Me (2014)
"Tonight It's Me" is an American short film from 2014, so it's still pretty new and fresh. It runs for 13.5 minutes and was directed by Dominic Haxton, who is also one of several people who wrote the script. It is the story of a hustler and early on we see how he is together with a nasty fat old man, but that's just the introduction. In the main part, he has a "date" with a man who dresses like a woman and also wears his hair as if he was a woman. The two engage in sexual activity quickly. The filmmakers desperately tried to use the dialogues to make this film seem like an artistic or creative achievement, but it felt really try-hard and I was very much disgusted throughout the entire film, mostly because of the protagonist's profession. And are the people who call these hustler not even worse? or are they just lonely? Maybe a mix of both. It was obvious that the writers were trying to make the two main characters seem likable to the audiences, but as for me, they completely failed. I found nothing about this one interesting at all. But I found many aspects quite annoying. Highly not recommended.
Join the council worker
"Home" is an 11-minute live action short film from 1998, so 2 more years and it will have its 20th anniversary. The director is Morag McKinnon and the writer is Colin McLaren. Both have solid careers without ever really topping the success of this short film here. With "success", I am referring to the BAFTA that the film won. It's a British production and it is basically 3 short films in one. We follow a local council worked during his work when he is about to inspect three homes with somewhat unusual inhabitants, who may or may not be exactly what they seem at first sight. I think the makers did everything right here. The order of the three homes is the best this way and with the last guy, they also got in some solid emotion. And a donkey! Donkeys are amazing animals. I liked the watch and I am glad it won a BAFTA. Go see it if you haven't already.
33 Teeth (2011)
"33 Teeth" is an American 7.5-minute live action short film from 2011, which means it has its 5th anniversary this year. The writer and director is Evan Roberts and this is still a contender for his most known work for sure. This says nothing positive though as this was pretty uninspired, yet obscene film that had little to do with reality. We have a teenage buy admiring another, older guy sexually and trying to look at him whenever he can. The in the final scenes the teenage boy uses a trick to get into the older one's house and there he does something very obscene. It does not make any sense. He comes off as shy during the entire film and then he would so something like that. Looks like Roberts really needs to work on the way he writer his characters. Congruency and focus is missing in here as well as realism. Major thumbs-down.