These short film collections are available to screen for free on a strictly members-only non-commercial basis. For more information email email@example.com
New Zealand Federation of Film Societies
All of the New Zealand shorts can be previewed online at www.nzonscreen.com
Tama Tu ~ Dir. Taiki Waititi
A group of Maori Battalion soldiers wait in the ruins of an Italian town during World War Two. As they keep watch for signs of the enemy the soldiers play games with each other to pass the time. At times they burst into fits of (necessarily silent) laughter, while at others they try to calm their nerves with personal rituals – one soldier rubs a lucky charm, another frantically smokes.
The film warrants praise for embellishing its characters with sympathetic and realistic personalities in such a short time, and with no dialogue. It focuses on an experience most films would overlook – that of the long, uncomfortable wait between battles and for the cover of night.
Turangawaewae (A Place to Stand) ~ Dir. Peter Berger
A homeless old man (Wi Kuki Kaa), troubled and haunted by his wartime experiences, wanders the streets collecting detritus. His daughter struggles to encourage him to return to his ancestral home. Wi Kuki Kaa gives a restrained and gentle performance and, although slow to begin with, the film becomes quietly moving and I found myself entirely invested in the story. Shot on grainy, low budget film (I assume), Peter Berger makes excellent use of close-ups and framing to highlight the performances.
Taua – War Party ~ Dir. Tearepa Kahi
At first it is difficult to work out what is going on in Taua, a war tribe are shown heaving something through dense undergrowth and it is only after builidng upon our anticipation that Kahi reveals it to be a huge war canoe being hauled over fallen trees at the behest of a merciless chieftain. Tied to the front of the boat is a prisoner-of-war. The two water boys sat in the boat feel pity for the prisoner and try to sneak water to him without being caught by the chieftain. While inevitably bringing to mind Herzog’s classic Fitzcarraldo, Taua is more interested in the Maori traditions and social structure – with the chieftain treating his tribesmen as slaves – than it is with the undeniably impressive effort to drag a boat through the jungle. It is a simple story but impressively told and the production design is superb.
Run ~ Dir. Mark Albiston
Writer Louis Sutherland and director Mark Albiston drew directly on their own experiences to create this Palme D’Or runner-up short film. Tom and Georgie, brother and sister, are forced by their dad into a strict regime of running and music lessons as he seeks to bring out the best in them. However Georgie and Tom feel restricted and scared by their father and conspire to prove that he is constraining them rather than allowing them to flourish. As well as writing the film Sutherland plays the over-bearing father, and portrays him not as a villain but as a struggling father trying to do his best. The young actors, Tyrrell Samia and Helayna Seiuli are excellent and the film is sure to resonate with many audiences.
Two Cars, One Night ~ Dir. Taika Waititi
Waititi is known for his sense of humour: when Jeremy Irons read out the nomination for Two Cars, One Night at the Academy Awards in 2005 Waititi pretended to be asleep. And this short in particular is hilarious. Brothers Ed and Romeo wait in the car outside a bar while their parents drink when another car, containing another youngster, Polly, pulls up for the same reason. Romeo and Polly start out as rivals trading insults and rude gestures but as the night wears on Romeo starts to befriend her. Initially boastful, and consistently put down by his brother Ed, (‘Hey Ed, I’m driving us home tonight aren’t I?’ he proudly declares, ‘No’ dead-pans Ed); Romeo and Polly soon begin to open up to each other. Romeo is a fantastic character, charismatic and sympathetic; and the interplay between the three kids is snappy and honest-to-life.
Federacio Catalan de Cineclubs Animation Collection
This selection features several short animations aimed at young and family audiences.
Barbazan: The Cabinet of Fear
Rather striking stop-motion animation with a real atmosphere and wonderful design. Barbazan is a rather incompetent magician, who with his put-upon assistant, a penguin, presents a sword-in-cabinet magic trick with a twist, which I won’t spoil. This is the first of a series of short films featuring the Not-So-Great Barbazan.
La Caseta a l’arbre (Little House on a Tree)
Charming hand drawn animation tells the tale of how a tree grew around and through a house. An old man takes his grandchild to the tree and we then witness the man’s childhood – whereupon he befriends a tree which gets damaged in a storm. So the boy builds a house over the remains of the tree to protect it as it regrows.
(La ciutat de la llana) Woolly Town
A stop motion film made entirely out of knitting is quite the sight to behold. In this short a young girl becomes distracted in school by a bird that flies into the classroom. She is punished and humiliated by the teacher because of her failure to answer a simple maths problem. She runs home to her mother who knits her a mouse, which promptly comes to life. The girl runs back to school to get her revenge with the help of the mouse. A very unusual and surreal film.
Itself a sequence of shorts, Contes Celeste presents different scenes whereby the sun, moon or clouds look over a peaceful scene, which is then disturbed by human civilisation. One sequence depicts a town polluted by factories, traffic and power plants which the sun resolves by encouraging people to use bikes and renewable energy. Later sequences are somewhat more forceful in their message – the final one depicts a snowy mountain range ruined by hikers and a ski resort which the sun reacts to by warming up until the snow melts and the people are swept away. Subtle it isn’t, but the animation is quirky and there are many pleasing touches – such as the clouds imitating other shapes.
Though obviously inspired greatly by the Scrat sequences in the Ice Age films, with 5 different animals chasing a nut, this is at least very inventive with how it presents each animal’s viewpoint with the mouse running around in a mouse-hole shaped image.
To see what other shorts are available to BFFS Members and Associates head to: http://bffs.org.uk/services/Shorts/