Currently we’re in the final day of the We Are One Film Festival, a free ten-day online festival that’s running exclusively on YouTube. The festival started on the 29th May and currently has a load of features, shorts and Q&A’s for people to watch that is co-curated by over twenty film festivals (including BFI London Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival as examples) and even if you miss the premiere screenings, they’re more likely gone now (especially the majority I’ve reviewed so far) but plenty still remain on the page during the festival’s run as they continue to raise funds that will benefit COVID-19 relief funds. So I’ve spent time watching a few of the short films that’s available at the moment and put my reviews for them below.
DIRECTED BY: Mati Diop
STARRING: Alpha Diop, Cheikh M’Baye, Ouli Seck and Serigne Seck
Mati Diop’s richly textured documentary tells the story of a young boy’s tragic migratory voyage in Senegal.
Atlantiques is the directorial debut short my Mati Diop that was released a decade ago that focuses on a few Senegalese youths talking about their hopes and fears about making a life-threatening boat crossing of the Atlantic to get to Europe, in hopes of a better future. For all the articles that spend an article or two highlighting illegal immigration, it’s another thing entirely to see it being discussed amongst those that take the great risk as this men talking around a campfire desperately seeking something greater than what they have, even though it could more than likely cost them their lives. The documentary is atmospheric in its presentation and immediately immerses you into the conversation between the men over the sixteen minute runtime.
A good documentary by Mati Diop that I wonder is the same as the feature Atlantics that appeared on Netflix was is it an extension of the same themes?
DIRECTED BY: Alice Rohrwacher
STARRING: Anita Rohrwacher
This delicate film conjures the protagonist’s interiority and spontaneity through sun-kissed 16mm images of a young girl’s hands.
This four minute short was part of Alice Rohrwacher’s opera production of La Traviata back in 2016 and it definitely feels like it’s been lifted out of something as I thought nothing towards it and it didn’t particularly stand. It actually reminded me of some kind of stock footage that would be used in a film to remember a childhood or of a dead daughter, as it feels that overly familiar. I will say however that the score composed by Giuseppe Verdi was good.
Taken out of context and just feels cold because of it.
DIRECTED BY: Shaandiin Tome
STARRING: Trini King, Forrest Goodluck and Ernest Tsosie III and Zoel Zohnnie
In her final hours, a mother on a Navajo Reservation struggles with alcoholism while seeking belonging within family and tradition.
Written and directed by Shaandiin Tome, marking her directorial debut, Hashtł’ishnii (Mud) focuses on Ruby, a young Navajo mother on the last day of her life trying to reach out to her son whilst struggling with alcoholism. Visually Mud is very impactful in how it mixes its narrative between Ruby’s ‘hallucinations ‘of being covered partially covered in mud, from tears of mud on her face in the diner, to rubbing mud from her arm in the truck, it’s psychologically effective in that regard as it’s also plays well on the theme of not being able to get rid of the dirt of your past. Tome has an interesting eye with her direction of these sequences here, which is matched by Mike Waliwanag’s cinematography and Trini King’s good lead performance.
An interesting directorial debut by Shaandiin Tome.