The Short Films of Ari Aster Part Three

Part One & Part Two

We end our look at Ari Aster’s short films with some of his best works. We start with Basically, a monologue/character piece starring Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). She appeared briefly in Munchausen, and Aster liked working with her. Basically was part of what would have been a web series that featured residents of Los Angeles talking to the camera about themselves and their lives. One thing the director does so magnificently is allowing his characters to take us through an emotional roller coaster. We might start hating them, then grow to empathize, then be taken back to despising them, and finally feel the pathos again. Brosnahan is a perfect actor for this task, and Shandy Pickles is a complicated & funny character.

If you have watched the previous films, you know Aster loves toilet humor. The Turtle’s Head is very much in that vein, a scatological bit of comedy that I don’t personally find that funny. However, I don’t see that as a strike against Aster. I wonder how much of this comedy centered around bodily functions will appear in Beau Is Afraid.

We finish with C’est La Vie, another entry in the planned (and never made) LA monologue series. Once again, the storytelling is masterful on all fronts. The blocking & composition says a lot that the actor’s dialogue doesn’t touch upon. The two paired together create a layered and complex piece of film.


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