Reel Affirmations 2003
Review by Will Doig
Rating: (4 out of 5)
Thursday, 10/23/2003, 9:00 PM
Shorts presentation, $9 at Cecile Goldman Theater at the DCJCC
OFTEN, VERY SHORT films try to cram a feature length plot into the space of less than ten minutes. This misses the whole point of short film — a genre unto itself with a whole different set of rules. Soundtrack for an Insomniac () understands this perfectly. The whole seven-minutes is just set-up for the very, very end — the credits, actually, which are integral to the plot and are absolutely hysterical.
Alice () is the one speed bump in the bunch. At 48 minutes it’s the longest film in this program and should have been truncated to about half that length. It aims for sparseness, overshoots and hits total desolation. The stretches of nonverbal sequences — of bodies writhing in darkness, of women forlornly wandering the beach, of people wordlessly eating (yes, you will watch people eating) — linger for far too long. The ending goes nowhere and when it’s over, you wonder if you really just watched anything at all.
The program semi-rebounds with Begin Again (), the story of a fairly androgynous student who’s in love with the teacher, an allegedly bisexual temptress engaged to be married. When the teacher files a sexual harassment charge, things become sticky. The ending is not even remotely plausible, but this one seems to be posturing itself as fantasy anyway.
A much better fantasy is No, Not Now (). Philosophically absorbing, tightly crafted, well-performed and hypnotically sexual, it leaves you both contemplative and horny. How many films can claim that little gymnastic trick? But the most unassuming flickette of all is actually the program’s sparkling tiara. D.E.B.S. () is a hilarious parody that nails the network TV thriller parody dead-center. The acting is fantastic and the quit-edit, soap-opera-with-guns formula that blankets shows like Alias and Special Victims Unit is replicated so perfectly that, aside from the lesbian sex action, you’d think were watching the real deal. D.E.B.S. is twelve minutes of Buffy-style genius.