WSFF – Creative Control

Last night’s screening of a series of shorts called Creative Control was a much quieter affair than the opening gala, but brought us 7 more short films that entertained, made you think, and gave you pause as you wondered about the concepts of life, love, loss, and death.

Heady stuff right?

The first film up was a stop-motion animated short from Australia, called The Maker. It follows a stuffed rabbit, with goofy teeth, who is racing against a deadline, to create the rabbit who follows him, teaching it and bringing it to life, all before the cycle begins again. It kind of struck both Sue and I as a sad existence, living only so long to create the next step in the process and then moving on. Poor rabbits.

The second film, from Canada, described, through dance aided by some nice visual transitions of dancers, the struggle between individual expression and group dynamics. Gravity of Center, was for me, the least engaging of the shorts this evening, though the RubberBandance troupe is undeniably talented in their art.

Heaven comes to us from Poland, and centers on Robert, who in dealing with his fatal disease discovers the religious painter within. his paintings are reminiscent of 14th to 16th century Christian art and are lovely to look at. And the way he looks at. he had to become sick and deal with his own mortality to become the artist he is.

Cheese, from Canada, was a funny little film, about two tourists, who end up asking the wrong guy to take their picture. The local asks for more emotion, more motivation, more, more, more!

And the tourists are completely taken aback in this fun little flick, which sees the photographer momentarily stealing a child to put it into the picture for the tourists to envision the family they could have, before practically urging them to make one then and there. This one was a lot of fun.

The United States shows up with the heartwarming tale of Lifetripper, Stan is a single father, who tries to connect to his son, whom he loves, and his son’s attractive nanny whom he thinks he’s falling in love with. However, between work and home, the only place he really seems to shine, is on the bus ride to and from, where he makes his fellow transiters laugh. Realizing that perhaps this truly is his calling, he begins to take steps to change his life, striding to work as a comic, and find his way as a father, and a lover. This was sweet and funny, and invested you quickly in the short’s lead so that the emotional payoff has a perfect tone.

Germany brings us the odd, poetic, and slightly disturbing How To Raise The Moon. This stop-motion black and white film features an unconcious woman sprawled across the keyboard of her piano. Fighting on the sides of life and death, are a stuffed rabbit and stuffed fox respectively.

The fox cuts the woman’s hair, snip by snip, to make her lighter and to float into the sky to become the moon. Fighting to keep her on the ground, the rabbit tries to keep her rooted by tying items to the hem of her nightgown.

Watching over all of this, and scrabbling to break the glass that separates it from the room, is a disturbing looking harpy, who seems intent on catching the woman’s tongue with a mechanical arm.

It’s very pretty, very poetic, and that harpy is damned disturbing.

The final film of the night came from Denmark, Les Amours Perdues (Withering Love), and featured Emmanuelle Beart and Denis Lavant in a very very French-feeling film. Maria (Beart) meets and consequently witnesses writer Vincent’s (Lavant) suicide attempt. Learning that it was all over a woman, Maria begins to investigate, to learn more about this woman. As the two become involved in one another’s lives the truth about love, lost and found, is told. All of this felt very French in the way it was told, it’s a dark love story, with heartbreak, dangling cigarettes, wet cobblestone streets, and loss.

All of these combined to make for an entertaining, if somewhat less rambunctious evening than the night before. Tonight however, we are eagerly looking forward to the Celebrity Shorts program!

Are you going?

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