As we round out our coverage of Fantasia Fest, we thought we would spend some time talking about some more of the shorts that were on offer and believe us there are some great ones!
Andronicus – Director Mark H. Rapaport – 24 mins
Troubled but talented teenager Simon (Kimball Farley) is having a family therapy session with his unhappy parents (Eric Roberts and Eliza Roberts) and their therapist (Rebecca Rapoport-Cole). Still, there is a stark difference to this session.
Andronicus is patient is not showing its hand too early as we first watch the therapy session for this estranged family. Filled with close-ups, we can only feel the tension in the air as our therapist carefully chooses her words to everyone in the room. You are left to wonder why the atmosphere is the way it is. However, as we get that pull back and all is revealed, the film’s intentions take a drastic turn.
Other than the danger placed into the film, the script and dialogue make Mark H. Rapaport’s film shine. A son who struggles without his father’s love and a father who isn’t willing to blame anything wrong with him or his marriage. The conflict with everyone in the room drives the film, and coupled with some excellent acting from our four actors, we have a short that tries and at times succeeds in scaring you.
As the film takes a drastically bleak turn midway through, you naturally become uncomfortable with the sequence; in these moments, we are the therapist, stuck having to watch and experience something we never wanted or expected. It is a bold decision from Mark and Jonathon Rapaport to have the film go where it does here. However, it works terrifically well here. Simon wants a happy family life; no, he needs it, quite desperately. With parents who are increasingly estranged, it is always difficult for the children to deal with it as no matter how well they try, there is no way of hiding it.
Simon’s grim demand may seem over the top, but as emotional trauma sets into someone, they regress, so in his young eyes, this is the only way for his parents to remain together and show that it is possible. It is his last throw at the dice, and for him, it has to work. When the inevitable confrontation happens between father and son, we are conflicted on what we want or expect to happen in the final moments. Rapaport does a great job at keeping us on our toes throughout.
Filling the empty air is a wonderful use of a metronome and simply music. There is nothing over the top or dramatic in this score, and it benefits the film greatly as it carefully raises the tension with the visuals. Andronicus is certainly gorgeous to look at; from the production design to the cinematography, you fall in love with this grand but sparse house, almost mimicking the lack of love that resides in the family. You are visually drawn into the film before you even get to the core of the plot.
Andronicus goes further than you would want it to, but it almost needs to go to those places to show how lost Simon has become and by doing, so it delivers us a very interesting film.
Bed – Director Emily Bennett – 10 mins
Seemingly terrified of her bed, Madeline locks herself in her room for weeks in an attempt to confront her fears.
There is not much that can be said about Bed; it is a short film that needs to be watched as it details trauma in such a visual way that it needs to be watched rather than spoken about. Emily Bennett has made a highly affecting film here. Trauma gets to people in a wide variety of ways, and in Bennett’s film, she delivers a punch to the gut to where we normally feel the safest, our bed. A powerful 10 minutes reminds us of the pain that resides in people after horrendous acts are carried out on them. Bennett shows great restraint in her film, in which she also stars. A highly effective film that grips you with its honesty.
Azulscuro – Director Evandro Caixeta – 15 mins
News of recent disappearances prompts Sofia to seek answers about what may have happened to her sister.
Filmed in a vertical mobile phone format Evandro Caixeta’s film provides a solid amount of tension, even if we are left confused about why the editing jumps around a lot. If this were going to work as effectively as possible, it would have been a lot better by keeping the majority of the film as one take. Instead, we are almost distracted by those jumps, which is a shame as everything else works well as a suspenseful supernatural horror.
Miss Mary Mack – Director Tim True – 17 mins
Two sisters decide to mess with the occult while home alone as their parents are at the emergency room.
Sarah (Sydney Lovering) and Izzy (Lexie Lovering) are stereotypical sisters. Sarah has entered that phase where black clothes coupled with a morose personality and young Izzy is full of happiness, possibilities, and innocence. Their dynamic is lovely as we see the older sister practically roll her eyes to the Moon with the antics of her younger sister. It is a relationship not only that we have seen on screen often, but one that we all know is true. Siblings can be so different, but love and fun are never really too far away when it comes down to it, especially at this young age.
Yet the complex emotions of the dynamic are always there, so when Tim True adds supernatural elements into his story, we become easily invested. Teens and children messing around with the occult is always an interesting mix, and True, along with his two actresses, can conjure up a suspenseful understated film.
Night of the Living Dicks – Director Ilja Rautsi – 19 mins
Venla (Sonja Kuittinen) finds a pair of glasses that reveal which men are real dicks. But, alas, the dick monsters quickly realize Venla can see their true form.
Have you ever called someone a dickhead and then wondered what a true dickhead looks like? Well, wonder no more with Ilya Rautsi’s brilliant film. There is a wonderful helping of Lynchian vibes omnipresent in Night of the Living Dicks and Rautsi, which lets the surrealist nature of the film run wild.
Yet when you have the film pegged, Rautsi shows that he has more up his sleeve with a delightful reveal 2/3’s into the film that then takes us down another unexpected route. Between all of the special effects makeup and general lighthearted tone, there is a point being made. If you are a dick or vast becoming one, can you change course and become a better person? Or is it too late for them and the world and have the Dickheads taken over the world for good?
Rautsi takes his influences from all of the classic genre films that have proceeded it. However, he can make it his own and gives us all a thoroughly entertaining film. Just remember, don’t be a Dickhead; you won’t like how it looks.
For more of our coverage of Fantasia Fest 2021, have a gander below! We will update each day!
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