Today’s Short Program #1 included the films:
Green Tie Affair, The
Happiest Man Alive, The
Suicide Brothers, The
Wu is Dead
All nine films were great but five of them stood out to me.
Air Knob was a comedic film about a man and his neighbor having an “air” guitar competition with each other on their front porches. Though there was no dialogue throughout the film, it was easy to understand what was going on. The music their air guitars supposedly made, was very good.
This film was indeed comedic. Air Knob was funny especially in one scene when one guy decides to show off his skills by playing his air guitar with the lower front half of his body. Do not worry, the entire bottom half of the movie screen was blackened. It was also very amusing when a neighborhood boy witnesses these two strange men strumming their guitars. To add to the humor, the men are the only ones who seem to hear the music they’re playing. I thought that the actors were able to imitate the playing of an actual guitar very well, it was impressive.
The Green Tie Affair
Having the chance to watch this film in person was unlike watching it on a computer screen. I have to admit that I was smiling throughout most of the film. Why? The music was catchy and upbeat. “I’ve got my green tie…feels like I can touch the sky.” Jordan Segundo’s voice along with the voices of the other cast was amazing. I had expected a lot after my interview with Dane Neves, and my expectations were met. I believe that this film has a lot of potential to be the next Sesame Street because of the possible moral lessons it can teach and its peppy music.
The Happiest Man Alive
The Happiest Man Alive made my mouth drop many times and my friend close her ears. You see, the main character went throughout his day with a very sharp knife protruding from his chest. Imagining what it would be like to have a knife in my chest made my mouth drop. The sound of it being stabbed back into his chest made my friend close her ears.
Through the film, the main character does not speak. He makes his lunch, stabs himself, and goes on with his day. His coworkers seem to notice the raspberry stain on his tie rather than the knife. When he gets home, he makes dinner and enjoys it with his wife who has a cork screw on her forehead. He talks for the first time within the film, which shows that he indeed is the “happiest man alive”.
The plot and weirdness of the film made it good. Since the audience is unable to predict what will happen next, it leaves them curious and focused on the screen. I probably was not the only one in the audience who was thinking, “How can these people not notice the huge knife protruding from his chest”. There were little things that also made me laugh.
Looking through the HIFF newspaper/flyer, I had seen a picture from this film and thought about how it reminded me of The Grudge. It is this thought in mind that made me think this film was going to be scary. I was wrong.
Junko’s Shamisen is about a girl who lives with her semi-blind grandfather who always plays the shamisen (a Japanese stringed instrument). One day she decides to make a doll of herself and wander away since she is bored. While away, a man kills her grandfather and burns their home. She is forced to leave with the shamisen that was punctured by the man and a magical fox. Junko finds the murderer one day while begging for money. Having found him, she then kills him with the help of the fox and uses his skin to fix her shamisen.
In Asia, there are theaters where many people work together using paper pictures to portray a story. Watching Junko’s Shamisen made me feel as if I were in this theater watching these people enact the story. This film was different. What made this film unlike any other was its use of technology. I guess I can say that some things were created by CGI, but I am not too sure. Junko’s Shamisen was able to incorporate real people in an imaginary world like AVATAR. Though the world was not green like Pandora, its realness and ability to work together with the actor was swell. Sometimes throughout the film there were caption blocks that made it seem like a Marvel comic. The visual effects are what made the film so good and really interesting.
The Suicide Brothers
Just as the title seems, the short film is about two brothers that try to commit suicide but are not successful. While it snows heavily outside the brothers share a meal, but once the cuckoo clock koos, they make their way to the barn. It is at the barn they attempt to commit suicide. Though the audience expects them to hang dead after jumping off the stool, the brothers have too long a rope and too short a stool. Their failed attempts to die and their actions made the film comical. The pixie that is also within the film finds a bottle of liquid that would guarantee death if “eaten with cake”. The two brothers try it and their hearts come out through their mouths and onto their plates.
The CGI was great, it made the snowy setting very realistic and helped to assist in the feel of the film. The pixie was also very realistic and I feel that they did an amazing job in creating that character. The Suicide Brothers reminds me a lot of Tim Burton’s film in its strangeness. Is it not strange, that these brothers are trying multiple ways to die? Or the hearts the cough out at the end? Though it was strange, I found it amusing too. Their appearance also added to the strange factor with their pale faces. Though there was no dialogue, the music helped to assist with this visual process. I have a feeling that it will not be long before this film will be a short for a Tim Burton film.
I do not own the featured pictures except for the Green Tie Affair. These pictures were obtained from www.hiff.org.