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See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL | Last update 17.Apr.19

bfi flare33rd BFI Flare shorts...
London LGBTQ+ Film Festival at BFI Southbank • 21-31.Mar.19

Reviews by Rich Cline | Page 4 of 4

Carlito Leaves Forever dir Quentin Lazzarotto
with Carlito Tirira Meshi, Pastor Posho Vie'eja, Alfonsina Sehua Tioshe, Clementino Meshi, Edilson Shanocua
18/Peru 8m

Carlito Leaves Forever  
Carlito Se Va Para Siempre   5/5

Carlito Leaves Forever Filmed within the Ese'Eja community in the Peruvian Amazon, this short drama is gorgeously well show, with real cinematic style and a documentarian's eye. It captures the expansive setting spectacularly, while also honing in on details in the characters. In Palma Real, a town only accessibly by boat along the river system, Carlito is a young man who, as the title suggests, has decided to move away from his home. "You are different," his grandmother admits in the film's only line of dialog, "and this is no place for you." Even without any more explanation than that, actor Carlito Tirira Meshi creates a powerfully involving sense of urgency as he runs through the jungle to the river, then steals a motorised canoe and escapes to live his true life. Assisted on the project by Werner Herzog, director Quentin Lazzarotto skilfully allows the story space to breathe without the need for dialog, leading to a remarkably touching conclusion.

5.Apr.19 #FiveFilms4Freedom

Crashing Waves dir-scr Emma Gilbertson
with Joshua Hubbard, Phoenix Chase-Meares, Ryan Morris, Liam Puzon, Harry Heath, Jamie Murphy, Ed Jones
17/UK 4m

Crashing Waves

Crashing Waves Shot like an earthy British indie drama, this clever and strikingly visceral short upends expectations from the start, as two rough-looking young men (Hubbard and Chase-Meares) run into each other on a grim council estate. Instead of confronting each other, they begin a skilfully choreographed dance that combines fierce masculinity with a deep sense of yearning and affection. The camera swirls around with them through a variety of impressive moves, leading to a moment of tenderness that elicits an ugly reaction from a group of boys nearby. It's a remarkably simple idea, inventively conceived and staged with energy and talent. And it quietly offers an important message without forcing the point.

5.Apr.19 #FiveFilms4Freedom

Listen dir-scr Jake Graf
with Alex Vellins, Poppy Tine, Michael Sgaravato-Grant, Evie Ives, Ashlynn Gillen
18/UK 8m


Listen Bold and eye-opening, this dramatised documentary features a group of children discussing their inner feelings as boys and girls who feel like their bodies are the wrong gender. The voiceover features their thoughts as they struggle to live in a world that doesn't understand them, including simple details that are strikingly illuminating. Things like peer pressure become far more unbearable, as does the crippling fear of using the toilet. Parents bicker, classmates make assumptions, and no one seems to realise that they are just normal kids with normal needs. And they need someone to just notice them for who they are and ask them how they feel. The issues are so serious that the film sometimes feels a bit melodramatic, but it offers a blast of hope to children who are dealing with these things. And parents and teachers also need to see this.

5.Apr.19 Flare

Lasting Marks dir-scr Charlie Lyne
narr Roland Jaggard
18/UK 14m

Lasting Marks  

Lasting Marks With an inventively simple visual sensibility and powerful audio interviews, this film documents what is now seen to be a rather shocking incident in the UK's legal history. In the late 1980s, Manchester police launched one of the biggest vice investigations in British history: over two years Operation Spanner targeted consensual sadomasochistic sex between a group of men, 16 of whom were convicted of violent offences and sent to prison. Their consent was deemed "immaterial". The film is presented as a series of A4 slides, with explanatory text, photocopies of photos, newspaper stories and court documents. "It was our private life," interviewee Roland Jaggard says insistently. "We thought that's what private meant!" He goes on to explain that this was about pleasure, not pain. He comments that the police overreaction was a result of homophobic panic at the height of the Aids epidemic. This group of friends was falsely reported as a "sex torture network" with a raft of salacious headlines. The irony is that, instead of acting as a warning against "perversion", this case actually brought S&M out into the open and made it more acceptable, with the imprisoned men receiving floods of support from the public. Cleverly, the title refers to the lingering effects of persecution on these men whose lives were destroyed by the courts and the press long before social media took over those jobs.

5 Apr.19 LFF/Flare

tribeca film festivalTribeca 2019 shorts...
Tribeca Film Festival, New York • 24.Apr-5.May.19

Reviews by Rich Cline | Page 1 of 2

99 dir-scr Nick Borenstein
with Nick Borenstein, Kathryn Markey, Omar Shaukat, X Mayo
18/US 5m


99 Bright and colourful, this witty little film has a superbly offhanded feel to it, catching tiny details in the interaction between a parent and child in a public place. While shopping in the 99¢ Store, a man (writer-director Borenstein) is worried about taking his mother (Markey) to a bar mitzvah, because it might trigger some emotions. As they walk around the shop, the son is snarky about the cheap quality of everything in the store (and the fact that she knows the staff by name), while his mother criticises his expensive taste. The film has a superbly subversive comical tone, loaded with realistic undercurrents. Dialog is snappy and clever, with sharp observations about relationships and identity, most notably being gay and Jewish. Because the central conflict is undefined, it remains enigmatic in the end. But it also leaves the audience with a smile.

17.Apr.19 tff

sweater dir-scr Nick Borenstein
with Nick Borenstein, Evan Hoyt Thompson, Jonathan Marballi, Lauren Ireland, Daniel Jaffe
18/US 4m


sweater Short and seriously engaging, this brightly infectious film can't help but brighten any viewer's day. It opens in a cafe, where Corey (writer-director Borenstein) asks a stranger (Marballi) at the next table if his pink sweater is too much. He's there to meet a blind date (Thompson), who sneeringly dismisses him on sight. And his day only gets worse from there. Then in a coffee bar, a quiet flirtation with the barista sparks a wildly flamboyant dance performance with the other customers. Most of the film is this elaborate Bollywood-style production number, in which Borenstein is surrounded by clearly professional dancers who give it their all, cavorting across tables in an expression of giddy joy. It may be very slight and silly, but the film cleverly catches that surge of self-confidence that even an unintentional compliment can spark. And it's written, shot and performed with an explosion of wit and heart.

17.Apr.19 tff

The Shipment dir-scr Bobby Bala
with Aleks Paunovic, Ishana Bala, Omari Newton, Robert Maillet, Leanne Khol Young, Adrian Petriw, Jacques Lalonde, Jason Asuncion
18/Canada 27m

The Shipment  

The Shipment The remarkably large budget for this science-fiction short is apparent instantly, as superb special effects work reveals that the story is set on a space transport vessel, as the teen Zohra (the filmmaker's daughter Ishana) gazes out the window at the stars, dreaming of going to art school. Travelling with her widowed father Kaidan (Paunovic), Zohra's job on-board is to feed the cattle, which aren't coping as the heating system fails. Racing to a nearby spaceport, they arrive with a cargo that's mostly dead. In desperation, Kaidan decides to sell his clanky but faithful ship. Then a mysterious stranger (Newton) offers him a fortune for one last delivery. But he has to bend his principles, because the new cargo is a shipment of slaves. And they are accompanied by a giant mutant copilot (Maillet). The effects work is seriously impressive, rendered on a grand scale from vast digital backgrounds to Kaidan's freaky pet worm-thing to the excellent alien makeup. And there's also some nicely staged action along the way, contained tightly between the characters. The story is very dark, which means that the actors never get a moment of levity. So the film sometimes feels archly over-serious, especially in the rather simplistic father-daughter melodrama. The overall plot is also a little brusque, like a feature that has had its complexity edited out, leaving it rushing to a tidy but enjoyably twisty conclusion. And there's plenty to like here, most notably in the film's eye-catching visuals. The referential design work indicates that Bala is a serious genre fan, and his use of a range of technology is impressive.

17.Apr.19 tff

Tribeca shorts: Page 1 of 2 MORE >

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© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall