The Moya View

Sundance: Short Film Program 1; Six Shorts



Help Me Understand

Plot: 
Six women must come to a consensus on a detergent brand scent.
Review notes: 
There are heavy shadings of 12 Angry Men in the dozen brand testing panel women futilely trying to turn the mind of the lone hold out. As the stakes gets higher, the frustrations more real, the claws come out, and it becomes a less bitchy version of the Housewives of series.

Sandwiched in between are film student references to both Bunuel’s The Exterminating Angel and Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.

It almost gets deep as the woman debate and defend their startling different scent perceptions and realities.

I enjoyed this little Macaron.

Parker
Plot:
Three generations of a Kansas City family are finally unified when they do something that countless other Black Americans could not — choose their own last name.
Review notes:
A black American family trying to go beyond their white slave names create a fascinating documentary moment about both honoring and abandoning history and heritage.

Parents try to honor their parents. Children try to abandon them.

A search of their roots leads to how the future can find them in case the past is lost.

The ending, with their actual last name adoption ceremony hits with the same emotional power of an adoption ceremony, and naturalization ceremony of new citizens being sworn in.

Sweatshop Girl

Plot
Inés works as a seamstress in a sweatshop where pregnancy tests are periodically administered. When she becomes pregnant, she is sure that her condition will get her fired. She does everything she can to keep it a secret.

Review notes:
A nice if didactic story of what happens when pregnant woman face a capitalistic structure that tries to deny their very womanhood, and right to have a family. Well acted all around.

Ricky

Plot:
An ex-offender struggling with new freedom pursues redemption at all costs when given a job from his neighbor.
Review notes:
Ricky tries hard during the first half to avoid the cliches of the convict trying to adjust to life and the streets genre.

Nicely acted quiet bits of explosion, frustration, and confusion pile up until the dictates of story telling say Ricky must explode.

Harder to break from prison are the prison reform cliches.

Sad, that everything must yield to the idea that something has got to go down, got to pay in the end.

If Ricky tried a little bit harder this short piece could have been something.

Inglorious Liasions

Plot:
On the night of a big party for Lucie, Maya, and their friends, Jimmy has also come. Everyone knows he is here for Maya, but does she have the same feelings for Jimmy?
Review notes:
Dim drunken light switch puppets go thru a drunk history of French culture, philosophy and attitudes before turning into what every French teen wants to be— an American teen -particularly the ones in those gross party coming of age comedies.

It’s all sweet as the straight and LQBTQ romantic pairings work themselves out.

Proof that the new French millennial wave has abandoned Jerry Lewis for the John Hughe style.

Just a little bit fizzier than champagne but still tickles the nose and tongue. A gem.

Sunflower Siege Engine

Plot:
Movements of resistance are collapsed and woven together, from reflections of one’s own body in the world today to documentation of Alcatraz, the reclamation of Cahokia, and the repatriation of the ancestors.
Review notes:
The long past unsuccessful Native American occupation of Alcatraz island gets the faux documentary, found footage, and fuzzy experimental treatment.

Chants and song lyrics get superimposed over subtitled poetic narrated reflection.

It’s tries to simulate a peyote ritual. Tries to be a synthesis on the Native American spiritual experience.

Ends up being neither, just a badly done music video.

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