IFFR Short Film Reviews: 80,000 Years Old, Er Is Een Geest Van Mij And Sunsets, Everyday

At this years 25th International Film Festival Rotterdam, I managed to catch three short films: 80,000 Years Old, There Is A Ghost In Me and Sunsets, Everyday, so here is the reviews for them shorts below.

 

80,000 YEARS OLD

DIRECTED BY: Christelle Lheureux

STARRING: Laëtitia Spigarelli, Aurélien Gabrielli, Andy Gillet and Inès Brdugo

 

Directed by Christelle Lheureux, 80,000 Years Old is a short that focuses on archaeologist Celine, who returns to her hometown in Normandy for the weekend for a dig. With her sister leaving her the key to the house as she takes off for the weekend on holiday with the twins, Celine is initially enthusiastic about seeing old acquaintances, though her weekend doesn’t go exactly as planned. Lheureux plays about with split screen to convey the storytelling aspect, particularly with Celine being interviewed by a student who is recording and documenting the dig which leads to Celine finding an antler bone, believing it to be 80,000 years old. It’s when Celine begins to contemplate and reflect on self-doubt over whether the interview was a good idea, pondering whether or will make her sound stupid or not, that the short begins to take a turn of you’re not entirely sure on what’s appearing onscreen is either real or her fear being projected to us. There is some lovely cinematography work displayed here, especially in a scene involving the split screen of a firework display that I thought was well done.

 

THERE IS A GHOST IN ME/ER IS EEN GEEST VAN MIJ

DIRECTED BY: Mateo Vega

 

Directed by Mateo Vega, There Is A Ghost In Me is a short that compiles footage of depersonalised figures, urban ruins, consuming fires and microscopic images of decaying bodily mater, set in various locations such as Lima (where we see historic buildings on fire), D.C. and New York (taken after the Presidential Election in 2016), and Amsterdam (abandoned houses). The ‘There is a ghost…’ poem provides some interesting words as it switches from Spanish to Dutch and how it matches with the imagery shown through Vega’s experimental filmmaking techniques, though I believe I appreciate the filmmaking more than the actual short itself.

 

SUNSETS, EVERYDAY

DIRECTED BY: Bashir Mahood

 

Directed by Bashir Mahood, Sunsets, Everyday is a short the result of an investigation the artist undertook of the process, both physical and cinematic, involved in creating images of domestic violence, with a scene depicting domestic violence acting out repeatedly, but as in real life, its action is obscured, happening out of sight. Mahood commissioned a production team in Lahore to create and film this scene in his absence, with the sequence based on his instructions and images of injuries that women shared during lockdown where victims courageously used social media to share photos of their faces, as a way of encouraging women to report such crimes. I went in blind to watching Sunsets, Everyday and I felt confused as to what was going on during the fifteen-minute short as it’s very experimental in how it plays out, with people being muted and zoomed in on, with the only sound coming from cups clinking on the tray they’re being carried in. We also get various items and objects being held up on someone’s hand one by one until we get the full set finally shown to us in the end, with cuts of a chaotic moments edited in here and there. Basically if I read the synopsis before watching the short I may have had a better verdict to give on it, but I didn’t feel anything for it other than finding it jarring. Clearly I’m in the minority on it as the short won the Ammodo Tiger Short Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam.

 

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