So as you might have noticed the world didn’t end last Friday, what happened however right on schedule was The Shortest Day Festival. Like every year TSD concentrates over 50 screenings in Paris alone, giving the audience the chance to discover new and exciting filmmakers or old and obscure films that they wouldn’t have the chance to watch otherwise.
This year I went for the screening organized by Festival Cinémabrut @ cinema Le Brady. Celebrating seven editions already, the organizers decided to take their programming on the road and bring to Paris a selection of films previously shown on their festival.
The 9 films screened at le Brady covered many genres and techniques; from thrillers or comedies to experimental and drama demonstrating that talented and inventive filmmakers don’t need time or means in order to get their point across.
My first « coup de cœur » came that evening with David Manzato’s “C’est le son des Pâquerettes” (It’s the sound of Daisies), a story about the frustrations of a ‘riffraff’, a modern day vagabond who is trapped in his secluded village on the French countryside and constantly dreams with the urban environments he’s repeatedly seen in films and hip-hop videos.
The film looks at his protagonist with sympathy and humor as he wanders around the prairies and small roads of his village, angry and frustrated that his inner world doesn’t match his external environment. If the provincials of Zola once dreamed to come to the big city in order to find a job and climb the social ladder, the provincials of 2012 dream of a much more urban existence with graffiti on the walls and hip-hop music on their headphones roaming around the streets of Paris on their skates, however the frustration of the countryside remains the same.
Continuing with the theme of every day frustrations, doesn’t everybody have a friend that knows best? Who always has a better point, or knows everything much better? Yann Batagglione’s uber-short “Mieux” brings us the everyday frustration of having to deal with a know-it-all, demonstrated in the most amusing manner.
Now there is a film that after watching it, is hard to believe that is self produced. A killer-skate that wonders around the city and chops offs people’s limps and internal organs leaving them bleeding to death. A man after the skateboard that is already bruised by the serial killing skateboard and at some point the skateboard has a nasty encounter with a blue werewolf! Following the bloodbath tradition of grind house movies of the 70s and at the same time employing the hitchcockian axiom that the most horrible crimes happen in the safest environments and a house lamp is as dangerous as a 45mm gun, Yannick Lecoeur’s Grind is an amusing, imaginative splatter fantasy that is in no way inferior to big budget feature lengths of the same genre.
One last mention for Alexei Dmitriev’s “Hermeneutics”, which as the title of the film states, it’s the interpretation of old war images. The director uses archival footage from the Second World War and following the footsteps of his Russian ancestors that have mastered the art of editing, edits them together in a new way that is defined by the world interpretation. After the film ends the audience is left wondering, if in fact, war and peace have much more in common that we thought.
The world didn’t end and there might be little hope for a radical future change, however after watching the films of these passionate filmmakers who made so much with so little, we can surely be hopeful for the future of cinema.
(Le Jour le + Court is a 1-day short film festival happening all over France every Dec)