SXSW Short Film Festival @Home – Narratives Part 2

The Voice in Your Head ****
Directed by Graham Parkes

A man wakes up to the living embodiment of his anxiety standing over his bed, berating him. This continues through his shower, breakfast, the commute to work, and throughout his workday. A man in a green suit standing over him, reminding him of all the things he does wrong. A very interesting twist happens after you think you’ve figured out the premise, and depending on how you feel about that moment, it will color how you feel about this whole short. I personally found it pretty funny.

Blocks ***
Directed by Bridget Moloney

A stay at home mom is caught in a never-ending battle with clutter, continually having to clean up after her two kids and husband. After breakfast, she suddenly feels nauseous and rushes to the bathroom. The woman spits up Lego blocks. It shocks her, of course, but she cleans up and goes about her life. Then it happens again and again. I thought this short had an interesting hook, and I think I get what it was trying to say. The execution of that theme is shaky, and I just wasn’t sold on the whole thing.

Broken Bird ***
Directed by Rachel Harrison Gordon

A mixed-race girl is getting ready for her bat mitzvah and struggling to remember all the passages. She comes downstairs and gets her hair fixed by her black relatives, the film emphasizing the process of flattening her hair, having her hide her natural texture and style. Her Jewish mother passes her off to her black father, and they spend an afternoon together, which leads to the girl seeking more of a connection with the roots on her dad’s side of the family. I could see this being developed into a decent feature film, and this particular cultural intersection feels very fruitful. As a short film, it was too broad and couldn’t explore its most interesting ideas thoroughly enough.

Waffle **
Directed by Carlyn Hudson

I really disliked this one. Two adult gal pals gab about guys during a sleepover. There’s something off about the whole thing. The story unfolds as one twist after another but not in a smart way. The escalation of events is meant to be played comedically, but then there are weird tonal shifts that indicate it’s supposed to be dangerous? I just was not impressed by the writing, the acting, every aspect. It doesn’t feel like something I’d expect to see at a film festival, maybe a silly skit on YouTube.

Soft *****
Directed by Daniel Antebi

Of all the shorts I watched in this batch, this was the big standout. The story is very cryptic and relies on the viewer to infer certain things about the relationships between characters. It takes place at a karate studio in the evening during a severe thunderstorm. Most of the action occurs in the bathroom, where the lightbulb keeps flickering on and off overhead. The mood is set perfectly by the lighting and the cinematography. There’s a sweaty griminess that makes you feel uncomfortable, but that is precisely what the director is going for. This really feels like the seed of a much bigger narrative, and I want to see the feature film.

One thought on “SXSW Short Film Festival @Home – Narratives Part 2”

  1. Pingback: April 2020 Digest

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