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Short Film

Short film showcase

Short Film

A Short Mission #7: Christopher Nolan’s Doodlebug

doodlebug

Doodlebug is a first glimpse into the wonderful visionary mind of Christopher Nolan. From the Batman films to Memento, Nolan has a proven track record of making thought-provoking cinema, and this is shown in his debut short.

Doodlebug sees a jittery character named ‘the man’ take on a formidable bug, but to no avail. Hopping and jumping around a dark and poky apartment, the man tries to kill an ominous bug which proves to be too fast for him, until eventually he catches up.

Perhaps like some of Nolan’s other films, Doodlebug leaves many questions unanswered, but that doesn’t really matter. Perhaps if we knew the answers it wouldn’t be as entertaining and that’s what makes this short a hidden gem.

A promise of intrigue was provided by this short when it was released and that is something that has culminated into a very worthy talent in the past decade in the wonderful filmmaker that Nolan is.

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Short Film

A Short Mission #6: Dawn (Part One)

Looper short

Dawn (Part One) follows in the footsteps of Looper, the 2012 blockbuster starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gorden-Levitt, and is a futuristic thriller which provides a tantalizing peek into a world of time travel.

A shady and illusive short, this provides audiences with a tiny taste of what is to come of this sequence of films, definitely enough to keep viewers eager for the next shorts.

Very convincing SFX and CGI see Dawn provide a visually impressive look into the future. Surprisingly, especially for an independent short, Dawn boasts an array of eye catching and detailed futuristic gadgets which look like they have fallen straight from a Hollywood film.

Writer and director Olaf Blomerus provides enough for viewers to be kept in the dark but wanting more, in this brilliant little short.

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Short Film

A Short Mission #5: Mission

Mission

We are constantly witnessing technological advances. Missions into deep space or chartering unknown universes have always captured our dreams and fantasies. We have spurned a whole genre of movies and television series focusing on space exploration. One of the hotly tipped and highly praised movies is Gravity after all.

But with all this advancement, what happens to those dreamers left behind, stranded on Earth? Mark Buchanan’s short movie Mission explores just that. The world is counting the days down to the first Mars landing when, unfortunately, a man’s hopes of going on the mission are dashed and he is left behind on Earth. Unable to cope with his grounding, he develops his own space mission in his garden much to the detriment of his son.

Buchanan’s feature is one filled with loss, abandonment and ultimately a broken mind. This is a stark and bleak look at humanity coping with the brittle truth that hope is just as damaging as it is uplifting. Shot so incredibly alongside George Barclay’s script, Mission orbits magnificently managing to parallel a father’s ambition and the problems that ultimately are projected onto his son. Throwing in news reports of the mission, it is particularly harrowing to watch a man suddenly fall apart at the seams because the universe told him no, not this time.

The acting is phenomenal and young lead, Peter Strathern as James is exceptionally talented; playing a quiet unassuming role that is rocked by the events damaging his life. And soon to be well known Emun Elliot (who can now be seen in recent film Filth) is fantastic and acts so wonderfully that you get well and truly absorbed into his story.

Mission is an engaging and extremely compelling movie that echoes the tragedy of imagination and hope.

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A Short Mission #4: The Boy With A Thorn In His Side

Sin título

The Boy With A Thorn In His Side is a powerful and intricate short film. Packed into just over four minutes of time, this movie by young film makers The Rest (Alex Motlhabane and Lewis Levi) was inspired by the terrible Woolwich murder of Soldier Lee Rigby earlier this year. What The Boy with a Thorn in His Side does is capture the racial tension that lives in people we know and are close too.

Utilising this everyday occurrence, the film sets a tough yet realistic tone with their short movie. While it doesn’t linger too much on villainizing our racist character, there is enough vile coming from the central figure’s mouth (at an age that should be more accepting) for us to want to look away. As his friend tries in vain to contradict what he says, the tension between the pair builds to the shocking crescendo of a movie. It is beautifully shot, with some highly intelligent film making that saturates this brutally honest movie in such impressive cinematography. All the while asking: how far would you go to stop abuse and hate?

Winning The Judges award at Film Northants Short Film competition this year, The Rest and The Boy With A Thorn In His Side have already made a startling impact. Highlighting the controversies within us, the torn views that nearly all of us have, this short movie is a clever and strong piece. It will pierce through your skin and hook uncomfortably for long after it has finished. To pack that sort impact into such a short time is an incredible accomplishment and The Boy With A Thorn In His Side is one of the best movies of this year.

The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (Short Film) from The Rest on Vimeo.


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Short Film

A Short Mission #3: Superman

superman

When you think of comic book geeks, what comes to mind? Perhaps a spotty, short guy in a superman t-shirt who looks like he’s never seen the sun. Or a recluse who lives in mountains of vintage comics. Well, this guy is a little bit different.

The superhero genre attracts a large range of society, from the aforementioned, to casual followers. Rarely do you find someone so devoted yet so nonchalant and downright cool.

Superman follows a Clark Kent aficionado who religiously follows the caped crusader. His name is Christopher Dennis and to say the least, he is charming. It’s an interesting spin on how obsessive fans work, as he seems a genuinely down to earth person.

Superman follows his life: his job, his past and his one true love. It really is a heart-warming story: a man with a huge passion which is shared by his wife. There is not a single thing that is not loveable about Dennis: he came from the cusp of brutal desperation as his life was at a low thanks to an addiction to drugs. Cue Superman, and his life was changed forever: it is now his everything.

The documentary silently follows his life and creators and directors Copper and Canepari do not dictate his every step: instead they trudge behind him, watching his moves and letting him be the superhero he always wanted to be. This short has a very strong, genuine nature to it which gleams through constantly; also a reflection of Dennis’ personality.

Superman is an intriguing look into one man’s life; a man is so abjectly devoted to the franchise, yet he’s still fairly normal. Dennis’ life is a charming story and this short shows it perfectly. It is a tale of someone whose life was literally saved by Superman.

And the most surprising aspect? He’s just like any of us (but a little bit cooler).


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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission #2: Right Place

right-place

The economy of Kosai Sekine‘s short is pretty impressive, with every shot contributing towards the overall theme, including the title animation. It wastes absolutely no time in establishing its character’s personality with quick shots that let us know everything we need to know. It uses established visual cues, such as him going against the tide on the escalator, to inform us about him, but doesn’t linger long enough either for the short to drag, or for us to really have the time to think about how we have seen that device a million times before. It is perhaps the tightly controlled focus of this short that makes it so impressive.

One of its other most notable elements is the sound design. The use of music is very well matched to the story, and in fact functions as a key part of the narrative. It strongly places us within the protagonist’s mindset, in many respects taking the place that dialogue or voiceover would normally hold, which only further enhances the film’s clean and crisp style. When we do finally get some dialogue it’s almost disappointing at first because of how well the film was managing without it, however upon reflection, it is needed at precisely the moment in which it is used, in order to quickly further the story, rather than by taking longer to explain the character’s thought process visually.

All in all Right Place is an extremely well made short. It’s sharply written and directed, has a great sense of style, tells a simple story effectively, and isn’t afraid to use humour to advance the story. It’s a great example of what short films can be, and one which we hope you enjoy watching!

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Short Film

A Short Mission #1: Dr. Easy

dr-easy

Welcome to the very first of (hopefully) many short film showcases here on Cinema Chords, and we’re kick things of in humungous proportions, as we take a look at Dr. Easy. This is a short film from Shynola, primarily a music video company aiming to branch and expand out of that. It was released by Film 4/Warp Films just a few months back, and had us in awe the first time we saw it following the global release on Twitter.

Dr. Easy places us outside a house presumably in London, with the road littered with police demanding a man inside step down. We see numerous personnel, armed to the teeth. A skinny android unfolds from a small port in a van, and begins to move, it’s holographic face glowing with surging blue light. It ascends the stairs and scans its surroundings before reaching the top floor where the subject stands. We see a man, Michael Sawyer, holding a shotgun. He’s bleeding profusely from the mouth and can’t talk due to a police sniper wound, and seems very distressed. Dr. Easy treats him attentively with a local anaesthetic, before realising what Michael’s intention is. We can only helplessly stare at Michael’s fate as it unfolds, as we see a glimpse of humanity in the robot’s cold display.

Obviously the first praise goes to Dr. Easy, and it’s empathetic voice by Geraldine Jones. It seems so robotic and cold at first, with its gangly frame and garish structure, but the voice and motion goes to personify it as human. By the end of the very brief time frame of 9 minutes, you will almost certainly feel empathy for the machine. The pacing of Dr. Easy is timed to a tee, and manages to build such tension and suspense which is almost impossible for such a short film. From climbing the stairs, analysing it’s environment, and pleading for Michael to surrender. Each step it pulse-pounding, building to a shocking crescendo as the short climaxes.

We can’t recommend Dr. Easy enough. I hope you enjoyed watching it, and I certainly look forward to seeing more of what Shynola can do.

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