Published Jun 07, 2012While having an appreciation for genres and styles of times past is a natural and logical thing for any film lover, the instinct to obsess over nostalgia and replicate those works is typically symbolic of overt posturing and identity as a performance construct for superficial validation or an inability to cope with, or accept, the present.
As this program title suggests, this grouping of shorts relies on all things pertaining to the past, whether genre tropes or surface stylization, noting the appeal to folks so referred to as "fanboys" and "fangirls," whose preoccupation with defining "coolness" suggests that there actually is a serious problem with the cultural present.
The first short, No Relation, is a Ryerson documentary of sorts, congratulating itself for having a rudimentary undergraduate knowledge of film theory and the works of Kurt Vonnegut and Philip K. Dick. Someone named Kilgore Trout ― you know, the pulp novelist that pops up throughout Vonnegut's work ― makes glib observations about the nature of documenting reality, which is duly appropriate since this is a documentary.
Faring slightly better, at least on an aesthetic level, is'70s homage A Gun for George, where a pulp novelist (sensing the theme yet?) laments about the modern lack of interest in Westerns and cheap, exploitive revenge stories. Using the visuals of the era, the only thing propelling this short is the notion that the good old days sure were awesome.
Semi-Auto Colours is absolutely horrid. It's about West End Winnipeg "gangstas" that love to say "nigga" ad nauseum. What's worse is that it's pretentiously stylized. Fortunately, this nonsense is only six minutes, leading us into the late '80s, early '90s neon, cardboard cut-out-inspired Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke. It mixes real and fictional elements from the life of 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell, trying desperately to be something cool more so than anything sincere or thoughtful.
Slightly more heartfelt and less preoccupied with its sad sense of awesomeness is Greek short Dan, Lenin and Freddy, wherein a young girl notes the change of her father after the fall of Communism when Freddy Krueger started haunting dreams and proving fallibility in the world. Somewhat clumsy in stylization, the coming-of-age message and overall tone make this one of the strongest entries of the program.
Also well-made, albeit substantially more disturbing, is Norwegian short Videoboy, which follows two young boys as they're introduced to sleazy '70s and '80s horror by sociopathic fans of such. Smartly, this short notes the limited emotional capacity of those that specifically seek out the most grotesque and exploitive horror possible.