Father of the Bride ****
Directed by Rhys Marc Jones
Right off the bat, I loved how this short film looks. It has the color textures of a David Fincher film, those sorts of browns and yellows he heightens in things like Benjamin Button. The story is nuanced and ambiguous in fantastic ways. It’s told from the perspective of a young best man who is getting ready to give a speech at his brother’s wedding. He’s in the bathroom when the father of the bride enters, also about to give a speech. There is a very tense confrontation that frames the rest of the story, leaving us questioning what the father of the bride’s intents are in this setting. The ending leaves us wondering and it’s really great moody stuff.
Face to Face Time ***
Directed by Izzy Shill
Compared to some of these other shorts the “comedy” ones often feel like something you’d come across on a YouTube channel. This short for instance doesn’t really surprise me and the production value is fine. I just feel like if you are entering a short film into a venue like this it should feel better than something that gets thrown together online. There are seeds here of a good short movie but it ends up just feeling like a joke on film.
Summer Hit *****
Directed by Berthold Wahjudi
This is my favorite of all the short movies in the Narrative collection. It is a complete story with character arcs, a full plot, and a beautiful atmosphere and tone. Laia and Emil are spending a semester abroad in Munich, neither of them from Germany. They strike up a casual physical relationship but Emil confesses his deepening feelings to Laia. She is trying to avoid anything serious and makes a break for it, leaving her wallet behind. The rest of the film explores the tension between them through this wallet that just can’t quite find its way back to Laia. I would love to see this concept turned into a feature. Summer Hit delivers a character-centered and atmospheric experience that feels like watching a regular length picture.
Dirty (Special Jury Recognition) *****
Directed by Matthew Puccini
Dirty is one of the most emotionally honest short films in this collection. Two teenagers become intimate for the first time and have to handle the awkwardness and embarrassing aspects of that situation. It’s not a terribly complicated short film and pretty short comparatively. It ends on a genuinely sweet note.
Single (Special Jury Recognition) ***
Directed by Ashley Eakin
I like this film in theory but the execution felt very blah. Our protagonist has a physical disability and wants to live in a way that gets people to overlook this aspect. The woman is set up on a blind date and that’s where the interesting twist begins. I felt like the final product felt pretty similar to the depth of writing you get on a CBS sitcom when there could be a more complex take. The ending also feels more like a punchline than a real thematic wrap up.