Engages in just how honest and heartfelt it is in the narration
I go through phases where I watch a lot of short films and, while some of them are not particularly good, the standard of those that make it to viral or critical success (with lots of hits, or Vimeo picks etc) is generally very high. I am not "a creative" but I suspect that if I were I would be constantly depressed by the standard of people out there working off kickstarters, making short after short which are consumed for free via internet success. Other times I wonder what the goal of such people are – because yes while creating such great work and having it enjoyed is one thing, being able to relax in life and have security in income and work is another thing – one which doesn't come so much from working on shorts. However, beyond that, is "success" being signed up to large commercial projects? I guess so – but often that means that the very independent projects they loved making, are no longer on the table and they become a director for hire, rather than "a creator".
With such clumsy, uninformed thoughts in my head, I watched this short film about one such director – Emily A. Cat. As we see her working, she tells in narration about her struggles with being a director and being taken seriously as a cat, her frustrations with the world that she is in but also her love of it. As a film it is an odd mix, because it is at once quite comedic but yet also fairly personal and done with feeling – and on top of that it is also a bit of a promo piece for fostering cats. The comedic side makes it a cat video and, while it doesn't do much more than show the cat sitting around, the idea is amusing at least. I guess this is meant as a hook, because really the short is best in the narration.
Although written as a piece of fiction, and delivered by an actress, it is hard not to feel that it comes directly from writer/director Yulin Kuang. Change "cat" to "woman" and pretty much it smacks of truth and is written in a way that seems very genuine and heartfelt. Being a fan of the majority of her work, it was pretty impacting to hear such thoughts – not because they are not true, but actually because many of them are; and seeing responses online to the film it does confirm that Emily is not alone in regard such struggles. As a short, Meet the Artist doesn't really do much with the idea of a cat as a director, and it is not up to the very high standards of Kuang's other work, however it is still oddly affecting in just how personal it is, how honest, and how much that engaged me. Certainly for the many, many jobbing creatives out there, the short will strike a chord.
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