Strasbourg 1518 (2020, directed by Jonathan Glazer)
Jonathan Glazer was inspired by an incident in Strasbourg, Germany where the townspeople overcome with a dance affliction, flailing themselves wildly and claiming to not be in control. The condition spread like a sickness and many were caught up in the frenzy. Glazer uses this and frames the same illness against our present-day conflicts. People are growing weary of remaining holed up in their homes. Governments are lacking leadership and kicking the can down the ladder of responsibility until they simply tell citizens it’s all up to them to figure out. Here in the United States, social unrest has come to a boiling point with a desperate President unable to provide a way forward and an opposition party that thinks doing nothing is their path to victory. The images in this short are beautifully reflective of the explosion of emotion and repetition in our daily lives. It’s no coincidence that the first words we hear are “How are you?” A24 is currently streaming Strasbourg 1518.
Candyman (2020, directed by Nia DaCosta)
I’m looking forward to the eventual release of this sequel because I’ve heard good things about DaCosta and it looks like the story will finally be tackled by a Black creator. The first Candyman was a film that is deeply tied to issues of being a Black American but has been told through that voice. This short film serves as a prelude and if the feature is anything like this it’s going to be fantastic. The short film jumps between the film’s protagonist, a Black painter, and stories of men like him being attacked and lynched by white mobs. There are allusions to the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. in 1998 as well as the electric chair execution of 14-year-old George Stinney in 1944. I really hope the feature film does such a good job of tackling the horror of Black history in America.
Shadowed (2020, directed by David F. Sandberg)
David F. Sandberg has grown in prominence from directing Shazam! and the last Annabelle movie. He got his start making horror shorts on the internet and during our COVID lockdown he went back to make a new one. Once again, his wife is the star, a woman alone dealing with disturbing supernatural phenomena.