The first Future Shorts DVD is a compilation of the most interesting and entertaining 16 short films, animation and music videos screened by Future Shorts Festival over the past five years. Our resident scientist-cum-comic book artist Oli Smith methodically analyses its contents.
What’s a Girl to Do
A dark music video with a catchy tune. The film is just short enough for the symbolism to avoid pretentiousness. Plus the symbolism involves BMXers in animal masks.
Well, I’ve seen THIS a million times before. The animation is lovely but pretty standard for indie CG mixed with live action and the storyline is so insubstantial it might as well just be called a line. But the song over the ending credits is beautiful.
7:35 de la maÃ±ana
Very good. A man in a French bar holds the clientele hostage, forcing them to take part in an amateur musical number to serenade a fellow customer whom he fancies. A very original twist on the genre and the rough clumsiness of the participants who don’t quite know what they are doing is well realised.
A terrible film to follow up 7:35. Three French brothers slap each other for five minutes? Sound like fun? It isn’t.
La Vie d’un chien
Humanity is set free by a scientist who invents a drug that turns people into dogs. Reminded me of a short story I read in a trashy SF anthology from the 50s once, but progressing into a quiet poignancy toward the end. An elegant parable.
I Want More
I don’t know what a Faithless pop video is doing on a disc of amateur filmmakers, no matter how cool it is. So I will pretend it doesn’t exist.
Ask a random person on the street to imagine what a black and white Russian short film about a prostitute with a young son would look like and they’d probably say this. It is so clichéd it’s untrue and about eight minutes too long. I was half expecting the words ‘reassuringly expensive’ to appear at any moment.
Cute is the word really, and that’s about it. In 10 minutes’ time I’ll probably forget I ever saw this.
Revolution of the Crabs
I laughed out loud at this near perfect animated short about a species of crab that can only walk in a straight line. Although the ending is a little muddled, the black and white line work sets the story off perfectly without detracting from the physical comedy.
‘Based on and old joke’. And a good one it is. But if the joke isn’t his then the artist has added very little of himself.
Or Pongball as I like to call it. This is a stunning piece of visual comedy, which is even more remarkable considering all the characters are rectangles. The birds molesting the kid will have you rolling in the aisles.
I Just Want to Kiss You
A young Martin Freeman seems to be auditioning for Trainspotting. I just find it depressing that in 1989 he was already pulling the same funny faces he’s been doing in lieu of actual acting his entire career. I still love him in The Office though.
She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
A lovely plot device about a man looking back on his past relationship a petal a scene. Unfortunately, the writer was so busy high-fiving after that he seemed to have forgotten that the idea is no good if the relationship isn’t remotely convincing.
And there was me thinking that the reason I hadn’t enjoyed the serious shorts so far was because five minutes wasn’t time enough to develop a sufficient emotional attachment. Turns out it’s not the time that’s been lacking, it’s the talent. This is heartbreaking stuff with a twist that will kill you.
Never like the first time
I have always been a proponent of the idea that the secret to autobiography is to get personal and you can’t get more intimate or universal than talking about losing your virginity. Beautifully animated and in turn heart-warming and frightening, this is creature comforts with soul.
Jojo in the Stars
Rayman Raving Rabbits meets Tim Burton in this predictable fairy tale that is saved by its visuals, which seems to be the excuse for most animated tales on this disc. A shame.