A Short Posting on Short Films at the NYFF

by eshman
September 27, 2005 12:03 PM
6 Comments
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I've missed one or two of the shorts, and there are still three to go, but with the exception of Cary Fukunaga's Victoria Para Chino, which tells a full and fully horrifying story of a deadly migrant border crossing - its economy by no means compromising its intensity or importance - I've found nothing of note. Which is a nice way of putting it. Seems the primary qualification for acceptance was high production values: shot on film, shot to look "professional" for future employers, and well-funded (and often shepherded by influential academics at influential academic institutions). Furthermore, most are "topical" or flatly localized in an early nineties issue-oriented way that also bears academic fingerprints. Is this about poor selection by the NYFF committee, or about a thoroughly professionalized film school food chain? Probably both, perhaps more the latter (for film isn't the only art form getting declawed by academia - witness the way writing and fine art making have become degree-only fields, for example), but I find it hard to believe that no one's making brilliantly self-contained or deliriously odd-ball or rigorously experimental short films and sending them the NYFF's way - whether or not they were graded or workshopped well or submitted with a glowing recommendation from an advisor. Why not throw a curveball the Good Night, And Good Luck audience's way, and advocate something unique and alive, something respectful of and turned on by the short form?

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6 Comments

  • Keith Uhlich | September 30, 2005 4:31 AMReply

    I've come to think of "Snow" - the short that preceded "A Tale of Cinema" - as "Lost Highway 2: The Vagina Monologues."

    I get why Lincoln Center puts the shorts in with the features, but I still kinda wish they'd just stuff 'em all into a separate short film program.

  • Buzzy-york | September 30, 2005 4:11 AMReply

    I agree...maybe! but that mexican guy you talk is a fucking parasite, we all know him down at Tisch, sorry if you're his friend... I loved his mating call...

  • TischFreak | September 30, 2005 4:01 AMReply

    Victoria Para Chino by Cary Fukunaga is a great and mature short. It's so academic and well prepared it IS predictable: what all film school teachers want, a good , well told narrative short. I even include myself as a viewer, it is also entertaining. Congrats... BUT... who cares? Where's the new stuff? I recomend you guys to watch another "crossing border" adventure, its called "Before Dawn" by Balint Kenyeres, a one single crane shot 13 minute short. Its ORIGINAL. The legitimate director of Victoria Para Chino was the mexican screenwriter: el se

  • eshman | September 28, 2005 3:45 AMReply

    Oh, but "Truant" is EDGY and like, from New Zealand. This must be what it's like to be young and in love with a homicidal masochist in New Zealand. I would never have known that.

    "Something Like Happiness" is like something not good.
    But this must be what it's like to be young and symbolic of the entire Czech Republic, of the Czech "soul" or something like that. Now we know.

    Also, has there been a single exported Czech film in the past thirty years that has not been sold as "reminiscent of the Czech New Wave"? This film can't be saved, but it's not helped by comparisons to films with which it shares nothing but a language (and a Czech soul, of course).

  • STV | September 28, 2005 3:36 AMReply

    Victoria Para Chino is one of the best films I have seen this year.

    On the other hand, Blue Tongue--the short that preceded L'Enfant--should be lit on fire, extinguished, stuffed into a pissed-in envelope and shipped postage-due back to Australia.

  • Werebiginjapan | September 28, 2005 2:05 AMReply

    Ugh, you're not wrong. How's this for an upcoming double bill? Short subject: "Truant," the tender meeting of a do-good schoolboy playing hooky and a binge-drinking, shoplifting, self-mutilating homeless girl. The feature: "Something Like Happiness," an uplifting Czech feature of maternal insanity, child abandonment, more binge drinking, and one-step-from-the-bread-line poverty, set against the backdrop of a nuclear power plant. And just when life starts to get better (SPOILER ALERT), someone gets cancer of the everything. Good times.