Size Doesn’t Always Matter: Best Short Films 2010 Pt 1.

(In review) Shorts Premiering at the Rhode Island International Film Festival

The Rhode Island Film Festival, though taking place in the smallest state in the United States, is one of the largest and most prestigious festivals in the United States. Its winners are qualified in competition for awards given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and many of the films nominated by the festival were in serious competition for numerous awards given by the pantheon of filmmaking and criticism. There were many decent-to-good shorts that appeared at the festival. Out of the 20 or so that I judged, there were very few pictures that were of poor quality, but there were certain great films that truly are deserving of recognition, and here they are:

Toute Ma Vie (Story of My Life) (Winner of the Rhode Island Film Festival Grand Prix)

Directed by Pierre Fierre, France, 2010

Story of my Life is a film that takes cinematic economy of expression to a whole new level.  Chronicling the story of a woman and a mysterious man who knows everything about here, Story of My Life is a unique little dark comedy. Masterfully shot on a 35mm that was able to capture gold and bronze tinting, the look of the film is just beautiful, and the precision of dialogue and selective use of one-sided character development, the film really proves itself. It’s a film that gives a shock of an ending, but by no means is it a film that relies on a taste for shock value. It’s a film that is reminiscent of an Emily Dickinson poem. Short, sweet, contemplative, and down to earth. Literally.

A4 to A3

directed by Dean Codrington

What happens when one combines the equally unique mediums of British humour and Hollywood Musicals? Well, you get something quite similar to this quirky, bright, and light-fare comedy short.  The manager of a copy store who falls in love with a band-aid enthusiast – that’s about as thick as the plot gets, but it doesn’t need to be any more complicated – which is why, compared to other films that, in net speak would fall under the “lolD33P” categories, I thoroughly enjoyed this little film.

The Day Before Yesterday

Directed by Patricia Chica

A film that’s hard to review because it’s quite difficult to measure both intent and genre. A film with a noir-ish feel following the perspective of a crime victim rather than the detectives, The Day Before Yesterday also attempts to be a contemplation on the nature of memory, which the film plays with quite nicely, as only film can do. All things considered, the film was a nice little experiment.

Delmer Builds a Machine

directed by Landon Zakheim

Two minutes of a child who, in the least (or, depending on perspective, most) Existential manner, kills God. A film with a brilliant idea, decent production values and a quirky yet fun execution, one might find the film rather, well, insensitive, childish, or hell, even sacrilegious, but standing away from all of those outside factors, Delmer was a good little short – though I’m quite honestly torn on the way it’s running time was handled. Can one make a truly great film in two seconds?

If Trees Carry Dolls

Directed by Ismail Sahin, Germany, Tunisia, 2010

It is by all means a stand-out film, if not only for shock value, but presentation. In what looked startlingly light natural light filmmaking in dark scenes (with many scenes lit only by candles and bonfires) we are given a very naturalistic feel to a film that chronicles perhaps the most unnatural and gruesome of all cultural acts – the ritualistic mutilation of the female clitoris. Though at first I was expecting Von Trier, director Ismail Sahin gracefully moderated the film and closed it with an absolutely tracking shot. I think sometimes, it is all in what the filmmaker does not show that makes all the difference. The best film cinematographically in the festival, though Toute Ma Vie certainly wins in overall narrative and presentation.

Next time: Festival Documentaries


About Ryan Silva
An American born cinephile writing, making films, and studying in New York City. Festival addict and student Jurist at the 2010 Rhode Island International Film Festival. Hits: moe anime and space operas. Misses: Smelly roommates and Jersey Shore

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