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On this page - 2011 Iris Prize Festival:
HOLD ON TIGHT
I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK ALONE | JAMES DEAN | PLEASE LOVE
PORTRAIT OF A SMALL-TOWN HOUSEWIFE IN HER MID-50S IN 24 FRAMES
THE RED BIKE | SLOW | TSUYAKO
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last update 1.Nov.11
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|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E
5th Iris Prize Festival
Shorts in competition at the Cardiff festival, 5-8.Oct.11 (1 of 3)
I Dont Want to Go Back Alone
Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho
dir-scr Daniel Ribeiro
with Ghilherme Lobo, Fabio Audi, Tess Amorim, Julio Machado, Nora Toledo
Iris Prize 2011
|With a refreshing light touch, filmmaker Ribeiro approaches a familiar adolescent situation from an angle that completely disarms us, commenting on youthful longing to both fit in with others and find someone special. Leo (Lobo) is a cheeky blind teen who good-naturedly puts up with teasing from his classmates. He's helped through his day by best friend Giovana (Amorim), who has a secret crush on him. Not that he'd notice. Then new boy Gabriel (Audi) befriends them, changing the dynamic between Leo and Giovana in ways no one expects. The film has a gentle, realistic rhythm that catches the sparky humour between the central characters. Because it's shot with such an attention to detail, we can easily recognise every push and pull between these three young people. It's a hugely engaging film that can't help but charm us as it goes along, especially as we begin to suspect where it's heading. When Leo confesses that he thinks he might have a crush on Gabriel, Giovana is of course crushed. And the way Ribeiro lets this play out is surprising and thoroughly endearing.
|The Red Bike
dir-scr Andrew Steggall
with Guy Blofeld, Dido Miles, Joe Mulcrone
Best UK Short Iris 2011
Assembled from fragments of memory, the film centres on a young guy who buys a red bike frame and sets about rebuilding it, all while reminiscing about a cool guy with a leather jacket and a red motorcycle. The young guy seems to be working solemnly but purposefully on his project, and it isn't until the end that we understand what it means. Well, we don't quite understand, as the film has an elusive, dreamlike quality that never quite lets us in. It's beautifully shot, with lushly dark camerawork and vivid washes of colour. And even though it's vague, it's also eerily moving as it sparks a variety of thoughts and feelings.
dir Maria Bock
scr Maria Bock, Lars Daniel Krutzkoff Jacobsen
with Marit Andreassen, Ole Giaever, Frank Kjosas, Randolf Walderhaug
|This fiendishly entertaining short is a dryly hilarious musical about the joy of discovering love where you least expect it. So naturally it opens with heartbreaking news, when a teen sheepishly confesses to his parents that he's just made out with a bald guy. They are shocked, of course. "Couldn't you find a man with hair?" his mother asks. Defiantly, he breaks into song about his "short, fat, bald guy" and runs into the streets singing, where he's joined by passers by. His parents eventually join in as well, as they begin to remember how they fell in love with each other. It all screeches to a hilariously cute halt when the choreographed mob rounds a corner and there's the bald guy in question, and he's not nearly as short or fat as they'd all been singing. The film's gleefully deranged wit combines perfectly with its rather sweet themes. And by the time the entire town is dancing on a fjord, you'll want to join them.
|Hold on Tight
dir-scr Anna Rodgers
|This incredibly tactile documentary is so intimate that we almost feel uncomfortable watching it. But it's also hugely hopeful, warm and engaging as it gets up close and personal with a series of couples while we hear them talking about their relationships in voiceover. We meet a variety of gay couples: two women, two men, an older couple, one with a baby. All talk about the intensity of their love, the fact that they feel more like one person than two, and the pain of being unable to express their commitment in public ("I wish we could make out at a bus stop like straight couples"). Instead, they have to play-act so other people don't feel uncomfortable. But is this cowardly? Or is it important to avoid starting a flight due to a sneaky kiss? Filmmaker Rodgers uses mainly close-ups to vividly catch the physicality between these couples. It's weakened by a cheesy, emotive electronic score, but is such an important issue - and such a remarkably warm film - that it's unforgettable.
dir-scr Lucy Asten Elliott
with Lauren Dempsie, Laura McBain, Elaine Blair, Vince Docherty
|Sitting in a car waiting for their mum, two Scottish girls talk about the family they're heading off to visit. When Alex (Dempsie) brings up their lesbian aunt, her sister Morvern (McBain) reminds Alex that she's a tranny. Although this is a secret she hasn't yet confessed to her parents. As the conversation continues, their father (Docherty) and mother (Blair) also appear, joining in on various conversation strands. And in the end, Alex finally makes a bold decision to say something about who she really is. Even though the film feels very slight, it's funny and sharp, with a dry, brittle sense of humour that constantly catches us off guard. It's also superbly shot and edited, with impeccable performances from all four actors.
dir-scr Aya Shwed, Yaelle Shwed
with Aya Shwed, Yaelle Shwed
|Far too long and self-indulgent to really work, there's the gem of a terrific film inside here. And it would have a serious kick if the filmmakers shortened it to around 15 minutes. It's a slice-of-life collection of home videos made by musicians Aya and Yaelle about their life together. These are smiley, funny women who enjoy their life, and we see them in a variety of settings, including a drunken birthday party and watching sunrises together. At one point Yaelle phones her father, who answers before remembering that he isn't speaking to her. It turns out that he has disowned her for being gay, but she is planning to visit after the birth of her brother's child. She comments that this was a shock to her after he had pledged unconditional love to her as a child. This kind of raw honesty makes this film an important document, even though it meanders through a number of unnecessary scenes (including a self-promoting song). But the issues in Yaelle's family are strikingly heartfelt, and the contrast with Aya's much more loving and accepting family is seriously moving.
Portrait of a Small-town Housewife in Her Mid-50s in 24 Frames
Portrait Einer Kleinstädtischen Hausfrau um die 50 in 24 Bildern
dir-scr Andonia Gischina
|As a middle-aged woman talks about her life, we see extreme close-ups of her face. She describes studying dance against her parents' wishes (her father was a small-town priest), and then getting pregnant at 16 to escape from them. And her life since then has been a stream of heavy responsibility as a wife and mother. Shot on Super 8 film with scratchy sound, the short has a grainy earthiness to it, and there's also a rather fabulous vein of dry wit running right through, which takes on a much clearer meaning with a final twist. This is both a testament to the challenges of every-day life and a smart commentary on what might have been. A real gem.
dir Darius Clark Monroe
scr Carlton Byrd, Harvey Gardner Moore, Darius Clark Monroe
with Carlton Byrd, Harvey Gardner Moore
|This eery, involving dramatic thriller really gets under the skin. As a blind guy prepares dinner, a guest arrives. But who is this stranger? An escort? A random meet-up off the internet? The host is clearly uncomfortable about the situation, at one point holding a knife up and asking the other guy to leave. Or maybe this is part of the game they had planned. Filmmaker Monroe directs with a cool, sure hand, keeping us off-balance as we worry about the awkwardness of the encounter. We never have a clue what might happen next, and the fact that most of it is shot in one long take makes it even more intense. But it also has a warm, realistic tone to it that's surprisingly sexy. And it leaves us thinking.
dir Mitsuyo Miyazaki
scr Mitsuyo Miyazaki, Christina Hammonds-Reed
with Sachiko Katsumata, Miho Fujima, Sonoe Mizoguchi, Shinji Ozeki, Chieko Ichikawa, Yuki Kimura, Sora Urata, Nanmi Ishida
Iris Prize 2011
An autobiographical story spanning half a century, this film explores an event extrapolated from a photograph the director once found of her grandmother (Katsumata) with a rare smile on her face. Miyazaki dramatises this scene, then flashes back to find out more about this happy period in her grandmother's life in the 1950s, a difficult time of working in a factory and raising her children. It turns out that the other woman (Fujima) is the great love of her grandmother's life, but she remains a wife and mother out of a sense of duty. Then at one point she makes the difficult choice to leave her family for a happier life with the woman she loves. The film is very nicely shot, but the rather tough story is over-nostalgic and sentimentalised with a cloying musical score. That said, it still has real power and genuine emotion as it explores why you are the only person who should make such a big choice about your own life.
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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows
on the Wall