Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2016

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2016 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Ariane Louis-Seize Plouffe for her short Wild Skin.
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Reviews by cornholio.]

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Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2015)

Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
Director: Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen
Writer: Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

“Plot”:
Raiders! chronicles the making-of of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation and how all of them come together once again to finish the last scene they simply weren’t able to recreate in the 80s.

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is a lovely documentary, engaging, informative and made with a lot of respect. I think I liked it better than both the original and the fan film themselves.

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Hangman (2015)

Hangman
Director: Adam Mason
Writer: Adam Mason, Simon Boyes
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, Kate Ashfield, Ryan Simpkins, Ty Simpkins, Eric Michael Cole, Amy Smart
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
The Millers – Aaron (Jeremy Sisto), Beth (Kate Ashfield), Marley (Ryan Simpkins) and Max (Ty Simpkins) – return from their holidays and find their house broken into and left in a mess. They call the police and despite the trepidation such a break-in causes, they settle back into their routine, hoping that the culprit will soon be caught. But there seems to be no sign of him. Little do they know that he might be much closer than they could ever suspect.

Hangman was an absolutely creepy film that completely worked for me despite some clichéd bits and a couple of lengths.

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Jeder der fällt hat Flügel [Those Who Fall Have Wings] (2015)

Jeder der fällt hat Flügel [der should be two commas there but aren’t and it’s making me only a little bit nervous]
Director: Peter Brunner
Writer: Peter Brunner
Cast: Jana McKinnon, Pia Dolezal, Christos Haas, Renate Hild
Seen on: 2.9.2016

Plot:
Kati (Jana McKinnon) spends her summer with her grandmother (Renate Hild) and her little sister Pia (Pia Dolezal). There’s a vulnerability in the air. Kati has asthma and seems depressed, her parents are not in the picture, her grandmother’s death seems just around the corner. Kati tries to take everything on, but she’s only 15 years old and things are bound to overwhelm.

Jeder der fällt hat Flügel manages to create an interesting atmosphere with engaging imagery but I wasn’t really able to connect with the film. In fact, my reaction was mostly boredom and a certain annoyance at the artsy-fartsy symbolism of it all.

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Das Floß! [Floating!] (2015)

Das Floß!
Director: Julia C. Kaiser
Writer: Julia C. Kaiser
Cast: Julia Becker, Anna König, Jakob Renger, Till ButterbachRhon Diels, Christian Natter, Nina Bernards, Sina Bianca Hentschel
Seen on: 20.8.2016

Plot:
Katha (Julia Becker) and Jana (Anna König) are about to get married. Before marriage, though, comes the bachelorette party. Katha is dragged off by her best friend Charly (Till Buterbach) to spend the weekend on a float on a river with her little brother Tobi (Christian Natter), her friend Ken (Rhon Diels) and – much to her dismay – with Momo (Jakbo Renger) as well, the guy who is about to donate his sperm so Katha and Jana can have a baby and with whom Katha doesn’t really want to have anything to do outside of the donating. Meanwhile Jana is partying at home with her friends and has to confront another unwanted guest: her ex-girlfriend Susan (Nina Bernards).

Das Floß! is entertaining enough, though it didn’t entirely blow me away. At least it’s a refreshingly modern take on some old tropes.

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Schnick Schnack Schnuck (2015)

Schnick Schnack Schnuck [a more or less nonsensical phrase said when playing Rock, Paper, Scissors in German]
Director: Maike Brochhaus
Writer: Maike Brochhaus, Sören Störung
Cast: Felix Anderson, Jana Sue Zuckerberg, Elia Légère, Jenz, Dana, Lotta Habmut, Sören Störung
Seen on: 14.8.2016

Plot:
Felix (Felix Anderson) and Emmi (Jana Sue Zuckerberg) have been a couple for a while and are rather settled in their ways. When Felix hatches the plan to go to a festival in Amsterdam for the weekend with his friend Kai (Elia Légère), Emmi prepares for a quiet weekend working at home. But things turn out different for the both of them: Instigated by Kai’s sense for (sexual) adventure, he and Felix meet Steffi (Dana) and Anke (Jenz), while Emmi catches up with her old friend Magda (Lotta Habmut) whom she happens to find in a rather explicit online video.

Schnick Schnack Schnuck is pretty much what I think porn should be like. There’s a plot, a very nice sense of humor, interesting characters who have smart conversations and then end up fucking. It’s great.

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Maggie’s Plan (2015)

Maggie’s Plan
Director: Rebecca Miller
Writer: Rebecca Miller, Karen Rinaldi
Cast: Greta GerwigEthan HawkeJulianne Moore, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, Fredi Walker-Browne
Seen on: 12.8.2016

Plot:
Maggie (Greta Gerwig) wants a child and she doesn’t want to wait until she meets the right man for her, she wants it now. So she asks old acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel) if he would be willing to give her his sperm and he agrees. But right around this time, she meets John (Ethan Hawke) and falls for him – and he for her. John leaves his wife Georgette (Julianne Moore) and the two move in together. A few years later, Maggie has a lovely daughter, but her love for John has cooled substantially. So she hatches the plan that maybe she could get him back together with Georgette.

Maggie’s Plan is an absolutely adorable, wonderful, funny and sweet film. It proves that a light film doesn’t necessarily have to be stupid.

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6 Years (2015)

6 Years
Director: Hannah Fidell
Writer: Hannah Fidell
Cast: Taissa FarmigaBen RosenfieldLindsay BurdgeJoshua LeonardJennifer Lafleur
Seen on: 3.8.2016

Plot:
Melanie (Taissa Farmiga) and Dan (Ben Rosenfield) have been together since they were kids and are still very much in love. Now an exciting new time has begun for both of them. Dan works as an intern for a record label and Melanie started college. But the changes to their lives start to disrupt their relationship, and rather violently at that. Will they be able to work things out or do they have to face the fact that their more adult selves will go their separate ways?

The question of what happens to a relationship when the people involved undergo big transformations – will they develop in the same direction or rather grow apart? – is interesting, and in a coming of age context it seems particularly intriguing. But unfortunately 6 Years couldn’t really sustain my initial interest.

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L’étudiante et Monsieur Henri [The Student and Mister Henri] (2015)

L’étudiante et Monsieur Henri
Director: Ivan Calbérac
Writer: Ivan Calbérac
Based on: his play
Cast: Claude Brasseur, Noémie SchmidtFrédérique BelGuillaume de TonquédecThomas Solivéres
Seen on: 27.7.2016

Plot:
Constance (Noémie Schmidt) wants to get away from home and study in the big city. For that she needs a very cheap place to stay and finds it in the apartment of the surly Henri (Claude Brasseur). Henri isn’t actually interested in renting his spare room, but his son Paul (Guillaume de Tonquédec) thought it would be a good idea. Henri finally agrees to have Constance stay with him under the condition that Constance will get between Paul and his wife Valérie (Frédérique Bel) whom Henri likes even less than Paul. Constance isn’t particularly taken with the idea, but since her only other choice is going back to live with her parents, she agrees nevertheless.

L’étudiante et Monsieur Henri is a nice film that isn’t exactly great or revolutionary, but it works just fine nevertheless, although not everything as easily as it could have.

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Nie yin niang [The Assassin] (2015)

Nie yin niang
Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Writer: Cheng Ah, T’ien-wen Chu, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Hai-Meng Hsieh
Based on: Xing Pei’s short story Nie Yinniang
Cast: Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Yun Zhou, Satoshi Tsumabuki
Seen on: 20.7.2016

Plot:
Nie Yinniang (Qi Shu) has been trained as an assassin since she was a child. But after she fails her mission by showing mercy, she is sent home with the new order to kill the governer of her home state, Tian Ji’an (Chen Chang). But the problem is that Tian Ji’an is Nie Yinniang’s cousin and they were promised to each other a long time ago. Now she has to decide where her allegiances lie: with her past or with her present.

The Assassin is a visually stunning film. Unfortunately it is also so incredibly boring that I could barely keep my interest up. And as I lost focus, I also started to lose understanding of the story, increasing the frustration I felt with the film.

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