Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2017

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2017 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Rémy Rondeau for his short J’aime Eva Marsh.
Seen on: 22.9.2017, 25.9.2017, 26.9.2017

Limbo (2016)
Director and Writer: Konstantina Kotzamani
Cast: Felix MargenfeldAggelos NtanosLucjano CaniHaris FountasHristos PsihramisDavid Szymczak

A group of boys go to investigate a whale carcass that washed ashore on the beach.

Limbo is extremely biblical/catholic with a procession for Holy Mary, 12 boys, a whale, and various Jesus poses. Your mileage will probably vary here, depending on how much you’re into this kind of thing. I thought it was atmospheric and had a really impressive cinematography, but it also felt very long, particularly for a short film.

Amos Beauty (2016)
Director: Les Frères Lazer (Alexis Chartrand, Patrick Francke-Sirois and Thierry Sirois)

After the relocation of a cemetery in the 80s, the small town of Amos has conquered a special challenge of cohabitation.

At the beginning of the film, I was a little irritated by the concept of this mockumentary, but it turned out to be just a very sweet story and film. It made me laugh and smile. Very nice!

Sherry (2017)
Director: Eliane Lima

This documentary follows Robert, a 75-year-old man who spends his time transforming himself into a doll – Sherry – and taking pictures of her.

Lima doesn’t comment on Robert’s hobby which I thought was a mistake. Because this isn’t simply an art project, the positions he brings Sherry in are prime examples of sexualization and objectification of and sexualized violence against women – without any women being present. And it didn’t look like a thoughtful examination of all of that, but rather fetishizing approach. I couldn’t stand it.

J’aime Eva Marsh [I Love Eva Marsh] (2017)
Director: Rémy Rondeau
Writer: Myriam Dupuis, Rémy Rondeau
Cast: Jaouen GouevicElyne CraipeauMorwenna Spagnol

Ben (Jaouen Gouevic) lives with his mother (Morwenna Spagnol) who has to leave him for a few days to strike. In that time, Ben meets his new neighbor Eva (Elyne Craipeau) who dares him to walk a cursed pontoon. Despite his misgivings, Ben does – and wakes something.

J’aime Eva Marsh would have been the perfect opening film to play before It, it’s got a very similar vibe. J’aime builds the tension well and has a couple of good scares, but the ending didn’t completely work for me. But I liked the film regardless.

Am Berg [Dark Alp] (2016)
Director and Writer: Nicole Scherer

A hunter returns to his cabin in the mountains after a long time. But things aren’t as they should be.

Am Berg is short and very well done. The only thing that didn’t work that well for me was the sound design – it was a little too pushy and intrusive. But other than that: a fine little shocker!

Nothing a Little Soap and Water Can’t Fix (2017)
Director: Jennifer Proctor

The bathroom as a symbol of privacy is a dangerous room for women in horror movies, where they’re regularly attacked. So Proctor edited together 10 minutes worth of bathroom attacks to deconstruct those scenes.

Proctor’s collage is a thing of beauty. It’s perfectly edited, incredibly effective and meaningful, absurd, funny and makes its point succinctly. I will never be able to see bathtubs the same way.

The Babysitter (2016)
Director: Frédéric Chalté
Writer: Frédéric Chalté
Cast: Frédérique DansereauLeigh Ann TaylorChristopher TysonSatine Scarlett MontazJeffrey Gibbons

Nathalie (Frédérique Dansereau) is Melanie’s (Satine Scarlett Montaz) new babysitter. Their night starts off normal enough until the two of them rent a mysterious video tape that turns Nathalie’s night very far around.

The Babysitter works with a nice idea, but it’s built mostly on nostalgia and I’m just not that nostalgic. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.

Mike’s (2016)
Director: Lukas Leitner
Writer: Lukas Leitner
Cast: Marcello De NardoReinhard ExenbergerRoman HemetsbergerHarry LamplFranz Weichenberger

A gas station in the mountains. Two cops stop there for coffee during a night shift. But something is wrong. Will they notice in time?

I wouldn’t have needed the last plot twist with the drunk guy, especially since it wasn’t quite as surprising as they obviously intended it to be. But it was an entertaining and promising short from a young filmmaker.

Teuk-geun [Clocking Out aka Special Agent] (2016)
Director: Kim Geon
Writer: Choi Seul-gi, Kim Geon, Kim Jae-kwang, Yoon Chang-eob
Cast: Sang-joong Kim, Kang-woo Kim, Won Joo

A new species of monster has started to appear all over Korea, so that it was necessary to form a government agency tasked with tracking them down.

I would have liked to love this film, but once the agents are introduced, it just couldn’t keep my interest. The dynamic between them is something we’ve seen too many times. I have to admit that I even fell asleep for a while during the film.

La Peste [The Plague] (2017)
Director: Guillermo Carbonell
Writer: Guillermo Carbonell
Cast: Ignacio DureGabriela FreireQuique GayoWalter ReyGustavo SafforesTill SilvaRafael Soliwoda

Rosa (Gabriela Freire) finds her father (Walter Rey) in her house who obviously has run away from the nursing home. But somebody is after him.

During the festival, I admittedly fell asleep during this film, but the bits I saw, I liked. So I watched it again (you can do, too) and I liked it even better now. It’s simple, but well-made with an excellent atmosphere and a depressing ending.

Hope (2017)
Director: Adam Losurdo
Writer: Adam Losurdo, Chris Stival
Cast: Tor Andre AndreassenLine BeckTonje BrattåsFelin HellseggåHerman Ljung OpedalJoe PikeKristine Østberg

Karl (Herman Ljung Opedal) is one of many zombies roaming the earth. The zombies are mostly rather timid and easily subdued, but there are some who still see them as a threat.

We’ve seen quite a few zombie romances in recent years, so Hope felt a little tired. And it really wasn’t necessary to combine zombie romances with the bad, no good, overused fridging of the love interest. But I did have fun with the film. It was entertaining and sweet.

Holy F__k (2017)
Director: Chris Chalklen
Writer: Chris Chalklen
Stars: Stuart BowmanNicola BlandPhil Sealey

Father MacNally (Stuart Bowman) gets called to an exorcism. But things with Joe the Demon (Phil Sealey) go very differently than the usual way.

Holy F__k has a great idea and is really very funny. I did have to take away some of its points, though, for the fatmisia and the sudden, unprompted and unnecessary appearance of a naked (neon) woman in the credits. Other than that though, it was really cool.

Les Îles [Islands] (2017)
Director: Yann Gonzalez
Writer: Yann Gonzalez
Cast: Sarah-Megan Allouch-MainierMathilde MennetrierAlphonse MaîtrepierreRomain MerleThomas DucasseSimon Thiébaut

Different characters make their way for an erotically charged dream-like maze.

Les Îles is a strange film and sometimes it’s a little disgusting, but it was fascinating. It had something that drew me in. And it was definitely very, very pretty to look at.

Neck and Neck (2016)
Director: Shaun Clark
Writer: Shaun Clark
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s Othello
Cast: Kim NoceMelvyn Ternan

Othello (Melvyn Ternan) becomes more and more jealous of Desdemona (Kim Noce).

I liked how Clark included the telephone in this take on Othello, but other than that, the entire thing felt way too tame for me.

Resolut (2016)
Director: Aline BenderJonas BockRomina EckerElena HellLuise LindnerAlex NegretJovana ReisingerRené Schweitzer
Writer: Elena Hell, Alex Negret
Cast: Maja LehrerFranziska RieckJean-Luc Bubert

Rieke (Maja Lehrer) just arrived in prison and already she’s heard of the abuse of her cellmate Dagmar (Franziska Rieck), so she decides to take revenge.

No, this film just didn’t work for me. Unnecessary sexualized violence of which the film believes it’s okay, because, you know, in the end, they get their revenge. I have seen that particular plot line too often to count and that was way too often.

Even Ants Strive for Survival (2017)
Director: Ren Xia
Writer: Ren Xia

A young student is arrested and interrogated.

Especially considering the student protests in Hong Kong, this film was really interesting. It’s somewhere between Orwell and Kafka and the interrogation scene was very heavy stuff. To say I liked it would be the wrong expression, but it was good.

Bon Appétit (2017)
Director: Erenik Beqiri
Writer: Erenik Beqiri
Cast: Ema AndreaArben BajraktarajElvin MinajRomir Zalla

A very special dinner for a power-hungry man.

Bon Appétit looked pretty awesome but my mind kept drifting during it. There wasn’t much that was missing but it was just not quite enough to keep my attention.

Run Baby Run (2017)
Director: Perica Antov
Writer: Perica Antov
Cast: Perica Antov, Evelyne Kothbauer

A killer (Perica Antov) chases his victim (Evelyne Kothbauer).

Run Baby Run is just a minute long and that’s a good thing. I really didn’t understand what they were saying, despite the fact that the film was in Austrian German (my first language) with English subtitles (my second language). But tht was the least of the problems, because it just didn’t make sense. But as I said, at least it’s short.

Wandering Soul (2016)
Director: Josh Tanner
Writer: Josh Tanner, Jade van der Lei
Cast: Cuong NguyenLap PhanHenry Vo

During the Vietnam war, Viet Cong soldiers in the Cu Chi tunnels start seeing their fallen comrades.

I thought that the setting for this short film was really strong. The entire film was tense and creepy and finally comes with an unexpected ending. Literally and figuratively haunting, hammering home the horror of that particular war.

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