The Store. Ami-ro Skold. Sweden
Honestly, I chose this film more or less randomly – I wanted to see something that has been made in Sweden since I often find Swedish films and artworks of Swedish artists from other disciplines very appealing to me.
Even if the film was tiny bit too long - I wasn’t disappointed at all! Film tells a story of the near future – it actually took some time for me to realize that the story told is not from nowadays, since events happening seems uncomfortably familiar. The film is a critique of an observation of the damages of the capitalistic system through the character development.
A story about people trying to get around day by day life in the world were there are shortage of jobs and corporate profit has it all. Story spins around supermarket employees who are competing for working hours since everyone has zero-hours contracts. Employees are struggling to keep up with rent and other financial duties, while the camp of the (already) homeless people who gave up on the system are (literally) on the other side of the fence.
People who gave up on trying to keep up with the system joining this alternative way of community living in the tents, at the shore of the river. They are providing food for themselves from the waste container of the supermarket, which throws away still fresh/enough food. Supermarket employees are trying to prevent the homeless of getting the free food by putting various locks, yet fails ultimately (reminds me of all the perfectly good food that is being thrown away in all the restaurants that I’ve ever worked in, while could be given away for the people in need).
The film perfectly exposes the chain of human actions, where everyone is doing what they can to get around / to survive, yet every action of the well-being for themselves affects other people that are somewhere in the lower rank of the power structure.
Interesting creative tool used in this film – sometimes appearing stop motion animation which makes the overall feeling of the film even more distant and stressful. Actually it was a very stressful ride and after the screening I felt overwhelmed by uneasy feelings (and I love that sensation after films).
Dream State. Combined program of 5 short films.
Overall, an interesting experience of seeing selected short films of less established filmmakers and (presumably) lower production costs. Some films stood out more than the others, yet after the Q&A session with the makers all films have proven to be complex and relevant contextually.
The bridge in between these works were dream-like qualities of these films, all of them were sort of in between dream and reality, science fiction mixed with nowadays reality.
Film that stood out the most to me - Fin. Finito. Infinito. By Laurence Henriquez. Film lands somewhere between documentary and fiction. It is the last day of the existence of earth. The camera observes people on a Spanish beach island Lanzarote while the voice over guides us through the drama and the subject matter of our alienated people and planet.
I the overall distant and mystical feeling and style of this piece is really inspiring to me. Talking about present economic problems of humanity in the future tense, foreseeing the possible future seems like a powerful method to get the relevant environmental message to come across.
Midnight Special. Combined program of 5 short films.
I am very !! Very excited to have had an opportunity to see these 5 short films, I think this was my lucky ticket of IFFR 2023. All 5 films were really inspiring in one way or the other, visually pleasing (which I find important) and surprisingly interesting and it left a strong impression on me.
This selection was of the films that had an overall dark mood, topics varied from life/death, (sub)conscious mind, dreams, religion & human desires.
Lotus-Eyed Girl. Rajee Samarasinghe. Sri Lanka.
Hypnotic, abstract visual journey, visuals are very symbolic quick, you barely can see it, sometimes forms into kaleidoscopic mandalas. Mix of various types of images, archival images. In only 6 minutes there is a lot happening. I would love to see it again and to analyze it further because it impressed me a lot, but I can’t remember much… It was inspired by the Indian love poem Caurapañcāśikā by Bilhana. To me it seemed like collection of personal memories which relates to my last project.
'A haunting collage of pomegranate arils, rural and urban landscapes, family history and mandalas undulate at a crossroads between death and longing. Inspired by the love poem Caurapañcāśikā by Bilhana, Lotus-Eyed Girl unfurls the impacts of colonialism on human desire with a pulsating, ambient eeriness.'
Howling. Kawazoe Aya. Japan.
Most impressive out of 5 to me. It's traveling somewhere in between conscious and unconscious, between dreams and reality.
'A mysterious, dreamlike adaptation of a short story by Hyakken Uchida, shot on 16mm. Shusaku loses his grip on reality when he sees his own face in that of his deceased brother. Trying to find himself, he drifts between his own memories and those of his sibling, slipping further and further into his subconscious.'
Adaptation of a short story by Hyakken Uchida.
Tabernacle. Dante Capone. United States.
impressive art direction. Director attended a school/course/something of bible understanding. His work process of this film - shooting -> editing -> seeing what's missing and then shooting and editing until it works. Cultural framework in spirituality. Fear of hell.
'Taken in off the streets, our protagonist finds himself in a religious realm of demonic proportions. An homage to American cult, pulp and punk cinema of yore, the film is stunningly shot on 16mm with colour saturation that could melt your eyes. With a non-sync sound design that is refreshingly archaic, this film takes you on a ride like no other in IFFR’s programme: to hell and back. '
Chomp It! Mark Chua, Li Shuen Lam. Singapore.
about cold blooded state of human relations. 'Looking at ourselves and crying for ourselves'.
'In a society founded on social hierarchy and privilege where many have to fight for their place, two candid crocodile-people are trying to cool down at a swimming pool – while struggling with their needs and desires. Chomp It! is an unconventional, dark and drily comedic allegory of life in Singapore. Shot on a sultry 16mm, the humidity almost oozes from the screen.'
Casa de bonecas. George Pedrosa. Brazil.
An omage for queer people. Maker's are inspired by pop music videos of Madonna and Lady Gaga.
'Beings and bodies, fusing and oozing. The grotesque, the sensual and everything in between. Or are they the same anyway? A trippy trip with three beautiful creatures who dance, devour and arouse. Casa de bonecas is a doll’s house, a wet and dark place that seduces you with its pink secretions.'