Carlo Perassi returns with his annual top 5 films to develop article
As we prepare to move into a new era of Filminute, we find ourselves increasingly interested in exploring the development potential of our annual shortlist. As part of that, we welcome back veteran film critic, filmmaker and Filminute reviewer, Carlo Perassi for another installment of his 5 Choices of films to develop from the annual collection. Take it away Carlo!
by Natalia Gurkina
It’s not the first time we are faced with a silent character in a film — but in this short, this trait is not the center of the plot, but a detail that adds more mystery to a story that, in merely seconds, piles up many layers in a surprising way. The first thing that strikes the viewer is its refined black and white cinematography and the details in an unusual “film in film” format: crew moving around, the unit still photographer that immediately starts to shoot during the break, the make-up artist that hovers around the male character and a troupe fiddling with his mobile. Everything is so fast and realistic and there is even time for little jokes or traces of subplots, as in the line “Would you mind translating with some emotions?”. Brilliant.
The scene of the retake is particularly interesting in the way he changes expression when she unexpectedly asks him to read his lines with a personal stance. There comes the twist — this time the director is one to be surprised and we have just a short advance to filter this information and it’s real meaning before the music chimes in to close this short in a fun and easy note, turning the mood once again. It’s a roller coaster.
When shooting a film, the director would have been so committed to the shot that I’m not sure she would immediately realize what the actor is saying, or at least this cognitive dissonance is something common to directors at work, giving the audience an advance notice to catch on to the subject and root for the character.
Feature or Series?
I’d be pleased to watch it turned into a feature (not too long: 70'/80' would be fine) with a particular editing… oh well, I don’t have to teach Russians to edit. :)
CAR PARK BLUES
by Khomthong ‘Tony’ Rungsawang
The director uses simple tools and good ideas to clearly show something very difficult to show — and I’m not talking about censorship, but feeling and emotions. The latter work better when indirectly recalled and in this short this art is surely mastered. Both actors play well with their lines and gestures: it’s a long take with static object so it’s all over their shoulders. Their tit for tat dialogue brings clearly to mind the kind of relationship that the two used to have and relies strongly on the little details, on how the lead touches his eye, how, for a moment, close to the car he forgets the present (“Hey, I didn’t park my car over here”). In the end he returns to the real present, his defeated present and — sadly — his only choice left is to follow what many think he has to follow, while the ending frames blur away the scene as his swirling mind.
As a note on the technical side, there are strange scratches over the lens that enhance the fourth wall presence but the whole short is still very powerful. The director told me he decided to shoot with a vintage anamorphic projection lens to get an old school look and to emphasize moods and emotions: the wide scope offers a sense of vast space and the blurriness helps to emphasize how each character is opaque to each other.
Feature or Series?
A feature is the natural evolution of this kind of deep portrayal of the human soul.
EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
By Nuri Jeong
Oftentimes, during a nightmare, what we miss is the courage to take a simple action or to rely on basic reasoning. When we do accomplish this, we might wake up: however we don’t always wake up beaten and scared.
Fright should be taken at face value: most of the times we are not sensitive or important enough to meet with real evil. Most of the times we just have to deal with weak, trivial squalor but, still, it takes years to find the right courage and every battle is a challenge.
You don’t have to become a screenwriter to be able to share a cup of tea with your worst fears: you just need to collect a few years on your shoulders and start trusting yourself a little bit more.
The character in this short is still a teenager: she doesn’t know herself enough and, as a consequence, she doesn’t know her fears very well either. She could turn back to the mirrors and look at the Other in her with the common gaze of an adult but she can’t read herself enough and the troubles and worries of adulthood are still years ahead. She hears the voices but she keeps pretending she’s fine, with her neat uniform… a decade later, in the same elevator, she could distractedly scratch her cheek in front of mirror, without noticing a not exactly mirrored image. Does she want to become that kind of adult?
It’s a short with a refined minimalist look, with a sharp cinematography and an effective sound.
Feature or Series?
It could be a feature and it would be interesting to develop it with a minimal tone, perhaps closer to a psychological subject than a horror.
by Khabane Moses Khongoana
Here we have a Western set in the Southern hemisphere and counting out this easy pun, it’s really that: a lawless world, with vast, uninhabited and wonderful lands where a lonely hero, with its own norm, rules over the few, isolated people. The main character — a charming, young actor — convinces us, the audience, that — for some reason — he has the right to do what he will in the loving mountains of Lesotho. How do we know? We simply don’t know and he said that too: only the tortoise knows what’s hidden in its shell. So the lone tortoise-wolf hero, the inhabitant of a really empty, huge natural area, reminds us of something we’ve lost a long time ago: we are not comfortable being reminded with this loss and the last thing we are left with is letting him stand for us in his world.
Feature or Series?
I’d say that this subject has a lot of space for a series: as in a well known film series, the story is out there.
by Nicolai Darre
The first thing you notice watching this short film is the colour of the sky: it looks like a 19th century painting and that huge volume of orange and yellow is very unlikely for a Norwegian sky so everybody knows in a seconds that a comedy is clearly on its way. The short continues with a robbery in full daylight and an interesting jump “back” cut. The thief lets her naive and dreamy victim thinks she changed her mind — calling her with a weepy voice from a safe telephone boot — while a much more evil plan is under development. The funny part comes from the mix of twists and original choices: two female characters, the cinematography and, of course, what’s going on that we still don’t know. I suppose the thief’s reason would be far from a mere brawl over a man or some petty thing… its director can extend the whole thing with an ace in his hole without using such a stereotype.
As a side note, I asked to the director about the colors of the sky and he told me that he brought up to the set a copy of the famous painting “The Scream” by Edvard Munch and explained to cast and crew what he had in mind, so my hypothesis about 19th century painting found it’s answer.
Feature or Series?
I bet this idea could be developed in a fresh series with contemporary female characters, unusual colors — it might be like a signature — and a lot of fun.
Still debating which film to give your vote to? For inspiration check out the five films that Carlo Perassi believes are strong and worthy of expansion. And let us know which film you think deserves a bigger canvas from this year’s shortlist @ http://www.filminute.com/films/2018
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Carlo Perassi’s previous shorts have been shortlisted in more than 40 festivals, both international and national ones, winning an award and two mentions and were shown in TV and in theatres. He has been a juror in an indie festival in London and he regularly writes critique for Filminute.