Thursday, September 15, 2011

Short Cuts Canada: Programme 6

A scene from The Red Virgin
Short Cuts Canada: Programme 6
September 15, 2011, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, 1:00pm

My first foray into short films by Canadian filmmakers ... largely unknown and young with mixed results. Over 600 films were submitted for this programme and it appears that about forty were selected.

ORA by Philippe Baylaucq
Filmmaker Philippe Baylaucq used 3D thermal imaging, no natural or electric light, and a dance troupe to create beautiful, evocative patterns of light and movement. Very lovely imagery set to gorgeous music. The audience seemed most captivated by this film.
Little Theatres: Homage to the Mineral of Cabbage by Stephanie Dudley
Animator Stephanie Dudley rhapsodizes about a head of cabbage (based on a poem by Erin Moure) ... hmmm. Sweetly animated clay figures but a bit of a mystery as to why this captivated the filmmaker so.

Acqua directed by Raha Shiraz
Raha Shirazi directs and stars in this film about the rituals of water and washing surrounding the death of her mother. The trip to gather the water in a fairly harsh environment dominates the screen time and perhaps serves as metaphor for her sorrow; however, it doesn't make for interesting viewing in my opinion.

Pathways by Dusty Mancinelli
A young boy named Marco is bullied at school and tries to fight back but to no avail ... one day he stumbles upon a mysteriously wounded man armed with a gun and briefcase in the woods. What follows is an unexpected response by a boy brutalized by violence.

We Ate the Children Last by Andrew Cividino
Based on a Yann Martel story and set in the future, surgical transplants of a pig's digestive system into humans sparks some unusual (but perhaps not unexpectedly) violent responses from other humans. Violent, very strange and oddly compelling.

The Red Virgin by Sheila Pye
Aurora Rodriguez Carballeira raised her daughter Hildegart (b. 1914) in Spain to be a Utopian woman of the future - her intellectual skills were unsurpassed and she was widely admired. She became a socialist activist and sexual freedom advocate until she threatened to separate from her mother and was shot dead. For me this was the most compelling piece and the most disturbing.

Trotteur by Arnaud Brisebois
Based on a historical figure from Quebec's past (Alexis Lapointe), the story is about a man who persuaded himself that he was a stallion born in a human form. It's very beautifully animated. Alexis reputedly tried to outrun trains (often succeeding) and there is some suggestion that he was maltreated as a young man. The faces are ghostly and bruised looking but the meaning of this eludes me although it was very captivating.

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