SXSW Short Film Festival @ Home – Narratives Part 1

Still Wylde ***
Directed by Ingrid Haas

Gertie finds out she’s pregnant and breaks the news to her boyfriend, Sam. They go through the typical fears and excitements of parents to be. The short is an emotional roller coaster that veers between both comedic and dramatic. These are definitely late Gen X/Millennial people, and the comedy comes out of the social signaling of those demographics. The ending, however, suddenly shakes off those tropes and reminds us how some experiences are universal, no matter when you are born. It’s a fine short film, but a little light sitcom-y for my tastes.

Figurant ****
Directed by Jan Venjar

A disoriented man is shuffled into a warehouse with a bunch of other men. The people inside take his clothes and personal belongings, putting him in a military uniform and handing him a gun with live rounds. He forces himself to keep up with the others and emerges into a forest where a battle takes place. Men around him are gunned down, and then suddenly, it’s all over, and he exits. Super ambiguous but genuinely intriguing. The film stars Denis Lavant, who I enjoyed in Holy Motors.

Reminiscences of the Green Revolution ***
Directed by Dean Coli Marcial

Of all the shorts I watched, this feels almost like a proof of concept for a feature film. There are a lot of characters but not enough space for full development. Instead, we get introductions and a hook for what could be a longer story. In 2001, there were nationwide youth protests in the Philippines, and this short is a snapshot of one group of revolutionaries. We see how the movement gets caught up in interpersonal dynamics, but once again, things are so broad that we don’t ever understand who these characters are. I think this idea as a feature could be significant, as a short, it’s okay.

Basic ****
Directed by Chelsea Devantez

This is something I would expect to see on Funny or Die. It’s the very definition of “short,” basically a higher production value skit but still pretty funny. There are two twists during the film, and the final one being hilariously good. Not much to say about this one, it’s just hilarious.

I’m Happy, I Promise *
Directed by Mimi Cave

I was immediately reminded of the anti-comedy that came out of the early 2000s. The premise is that a man named Parker is calling his friends to let them know how good he’s doing and various hobbies he’s pursuing. The conversations always end in the friends pointing out some loss of life that Parker is responsible for but assuring him he’s not. Yes, this is a hard short film to describe, but you should watch it. It’s genuinely funny, at least it hit my funny bone in the right way.

One thought on “SXSW Short Film Festival @ Home – Narratives Part 1”

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