Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Live Action Shorts 2011 (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

The Short films: Live Action/ 2011

Miniature moral pitfalls  and apprehensive apéritifs  abound in this year's Oscar considerations in the Short Film: Live Action category. One can feel an existential sigh cloaking every entry like a vapor. From the UK, there is the "The Confession". With echoes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and a suburban "Lord of the Flies", who knew that children could be so darkly minded under the cowl of Catholicism or so yearning of a priest's absolution? After all, according to this tale, a nightly dinner provides no cozy comforts. A silently sipped soup and a cold glass of milk, it seems, is all an elementary level child can hope for. Never has Catholicism seemed at once so sinister, yet so inadequate at the same time.

This entry gives Stephen King a run for his money. Also, from the UK, is "Wish 143" a twist on a sensual coming-of-age tale, about a young  boy who schemes to escape from his terminal condition. Part fantasy, part suspense story with a touch of David Cronenberg , this vignette illustrates the life of an adventurous boy, trapped by circumstance in a hospital. Yet the story gives the place a picaresque feeling and is not a downer. We learn that the young man despite his limits, has given himself a host of possibilities.

In Belgium's "Na Wewe" a  bus breaks down in the middle of a tribal war in Burundi   regarding the Tutsis and Hutus. One can feel the tension onscreen like a boiling yellow sun. The humidity of fear remains till the very end.

Ireland's offering,"The Crush", is a Highsmithian idyll full of poignancy and pathos that becomes nearly homicidal. The story concerns a young boy who has a crush on his teacher and assumes the role of  her bodyguard. The young boy is quite the  little Romeo mixed with a bit of Travis Bickle. Scarily so, but that's part of the fun. This pint-sized movie  skillfully weaves the cute with the creepiness of the possessive child and the last thing we are left with is a taut surprise.

"God of Love" from the USA, is a  valentine spoof of desire and mischance. Filmed in black and white with echoes of Jim Jarmusch, "God of Love" is a playful bon-bon compared to the richer more existentially laced treats that are now on display, for your consideration at The Tropic.

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