Archive for January, 2009


Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

SHORT 2: DREAMS , 1997

La Jetee

This 27-minute French short film from 1962 was directed by Chris Marker and served as the inspiration for the 1996 Terry Gilliam feature Twelve Monkeys. The film (whose title translates as The Pier) is made up of beautiful, moody black-and-white still photos, carefully composed and lit, edited into a science-fiction narrative about a reluctant time-traveler in a post-World War III underground society. One brief moving shot is breathtaking in this context, and the film bears repeated viewings even after you’ve absorbed the plot. It’s presented here dubbed with English narration, no subtitles.

Café Bar

Alison de Vere directed this wonderful 6-minute color animated short in 1974. It’s a stream-of-consciousness piece exploring archetypal thoughts and images about male-female relationships that go through the heads of two people meeting at a café. The animation is inventive and bold (de Vere also worked on the classic Beatles animated feature Yellow Submarine) and de Vere’s film comments on socio-sexual issues with humor and insight.

Depth Solitude

Joachim Solum & Thomas Liem directed this bizarre, fascinating 7-minute film shows us the world of a pool cleaner, who seems to live at the bottom of a large swimming pool where he toils away in a deep-sea diving suit and ruminates on human nature. When a beautiful woman swimmer enters his world from above, he resolves to “declare his love” with dire consequences. A knowing, disturbing film, beautifully photographed, with great music and sound effects matched with excellent narration by Max Von Sydow.

Bride of Resistor

Mark Gustafson directed this Will Vinton Studios production, a sequel to his earlier Mr. Resistor, a wild stop-motion short about an electrically powered creature set loose in a world of junk. The animation in Bride of Resistor is nicely done, with detailed models and better character animation than the first film, but the story isn’t as strong this time. The film starts with an appealingly sympathetic portrayal of its hero’s desire for a plastic wedding cake bride, but ultimately turns into a series of gags without the kinetic energy and plot of the first film. Surround sound is well utilized with effective stereo pans and inventive audio effects.

Eye Like a Strange Balloon

This surreal short was a very pleasant surprise. Director Guy Maddin produced this 4-minute short for the BBC as a project inspired by Odilon Redon’s surreal painting “Eye Like A Strange Balloon,” inspired in turn by the works of Poe. The film has a Georges Melies feel about it, with black-and-white silent-movie-style photography, effective use of obvious models and miniatures, and striking double-exposure compositions. Consciously “surreal” filmmaking often doesn’t work this well, but Maddin’s film has enough humor and strong thematic/visual consistency to deserve several viewings. Production Notes and original storyboard drawings (alternate video track) provide further insight into the making of this visually fascinating little film.