Film Review: Future Shorts Glasgow

Future Shorts Glasgow returned this January with an excellent evening of short films presented at the Centre for Contemporary Arts. Before the screenings was a short talk by Matt Lloyd of the Glasgow Short Film Festival about some of the exciting events occurring at the upcoming festival and how some of the projects had been put together, an interesting topic given the restrictive nature of shorts compared to feature length films.

There were seven films on the program:

Excursion (dir. Adrian Sitaru): a comedy about a Romanian boy, a video camera, the media’s ability to misunderstand and misinterpret, and, possibly, aliens. Outrageously funny and yet innocent, the film is told from the boy’s perspective, allowing the audience to laugh at the absurd reactions from the adults and from the establishment.

Grace Under Water (dir. Anthony Lawrence): a beautiful Australian animation relying on the central visual metaphor of water in order to tell the story of a lonely, isolated and disaffected teenage girl and her relationship to her frustrated stepmother. It is a deeply affecting film which made me reflect on my own relations with family and friends, and how we often have a tendency to shut ourselves off from those who are in a position to help us. For me, Grace Under Water was the best film of the night.

Northern Great Mountain (dir. Amanda Kernell): a melancholic tale of loss and grief from Sweden, deeply rooted in the traditions of the northern Sami and Lap people. While heart-breaking, the film does suffer somewhat from a disconnect between the unlikeable characters and the audience.

Lights (dir. Dawn Shadforth): a music video for the band ‘Hurts’ which depicts an encounter between a man and a woman in a nightclub. The visuals are extravagant bordering on outrageous, and at times take centre stage over the human relationship between the two central characters. While thoroughly engaging, the film ultimately left me cold, and somewhat uninterested in the future of the characters.

Citizen Day (dir. Basile Doganis): telling the story of a group of French youths who attend Citizen Day at the local army barracks and the two who, after arriving late and being turned away, instead explore the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, this is a film which creates a deep emotional bond between its characters and the audience. We laugh when they laugh, and we feel their sadness at times of trouble. Engaging and heartfelt, this was one of the standouts of the night.

All Your Favourite Shows (dir. Danny Madden): mixing animation with some staggeringly well -choreographed and precise editing, All Your Favourite Shows demonstrates through a young boy and a tablet screen how the art we engage with and consume impacts on our lives and how the link between art and life is a complex and confusing one. Possibly slightly too breakneck for its own good, this is a film which is nevertheless a thrill to watch.

Rate Me (dir. Fyzal Boulifa): the final film of the night, and a somewhat terrifying, occasionally darkly comic account of the actions and interactions of online reviewers with regards to their experiences with a teenage escort named ‘Coco’. The film effectively outlines the problems of the internet giving each and every person anonymity and therefore the freedom to say whatever they feel like saying without fear of personal repercussions. It could be argued that the film lacks the nuance to really dig into the issues it highlights, but it is nonetheless an efficiently made work with genuine intentions to try and illuminate a real world issue.

[Tim Abrams]

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