A Brief History of Our Time
Published Jul 02, 2008The fifth program of official selections explores the circular nature of human conflict, feelings of isolation, fleeting thoughts in the last moments of life, the necessity of death to create life and the memories of those who have passed. Its a somewhat depressing section, with many of the shorts leaving themselves open to interpretation. Maturity is juxtaposed with immaturity throughout, as some films are significantly more profound than others.
Starting things out is Under Twilight, a visually fascinating entry that manipulates stock footage in a means that may nauseate some viewers to convey the circular nature of war. While interesting, it certainly wouldnt qualify as a form of entertainment per se, but perhaps as a meaningful symbol that will mean something only to the eight or nine people who care.
Reluctantly trudging back into audience-friendly territory is LAstronaute, a 22-minute French short about a rural family that finds an astronaut suit, which unfortunately was devoid of English subtitles on the screener. Beautifully photographed and filled with cavemen and astronauts (Spike and Angel be proud), it appeared to be a thoroughly entertaining short.
Unfortunately The Nature of Rebirth is as dull as dishwater. It states that Europes oldest forest, Puszcza Bialowieska, requires poop and dead bodies to flourish. But really, what doesnt? One might guess that creationism from a satanic perspective might be the answer but they would be wrong. Renaissance for the Modern Lucifer is a somewhat immature stop-motion animation with some sassy gothic roots. The instinct to die ones hair black and flip the bird to authority figures or at least to men in suits may come about after viewing.
Continuing on with immature shorts is Souvenirs from Asia, a film about a young Korean-Canadian who is utterly pissed that she was adopted as a child to such an extent that she spray paints racial epithets about noodles on her own house. Thatll teach em! The film quality is grim, with a very student short feel.
Odins Shield Maiden is a Guy Madden short made to honour someones passing. And as a Guy Madden film it should be heralded as genius, even though it looks a bit like that video from Ringu.
Thankfully, after struggling through a relatively crappy series of shorts, there is a hidden gem titled Manon on the Asphalt. Its a truly powerful film about a young woman reflecting on life experiences, friends, love and things she will never get to do while she lays on the street dying. This is definitely one of the strongest shorts in the festival, bringing great meaning and insight to the truly important things in life.