The Dresser loves going to the movies, but she has to admit that DC Shorts Film Festival Showcase 3 created a short circuit that literally made her uncomfortable in her own skin. Starting with the six-minute Australian comedy Squeeze by Will Goodfellow, the Dresser fully expected that the convict trying to escape his prison through a tight sludge-filled sewer pipe would meet a rat but not a mate in a penguin suit. OMG, that light at the end of the tunnel was a new kind of hell that actually needed no words to go with the disgusting action. And besides, the Dresser could barely hear and understand the Aussie patter.
WHEN COMEDY IS FRAUGHT
This particular short makes the Dresser think of a story her friend Madam Mayo tells about Paul Bowles who wanted her to understand that he got the meaning of her expletive use of the word gross! Oh, he said, would gross be like the time I was eating in some dark hut only to find I had maggots crawling off the food onto my face? The Dresser thinks there should be a new film category called grossmedy, which might warn people like the Dresser to forego this so-called comic opportunity.
Of the eight films making up the DCS Showcase 3, there were two other comedies--first-time director Heather Scobie's Twisted Proverbs: Candle and Marc Carlini's Worn. Though carefully placed in the lineup of films to neutralize the horror of two particularly heavy stories--Leonids Geshichte and Tattoo (more on these two film soon), these comic shorts are what the Dresser would call fraught. Both films are loaded against a female player, which cranks up the emotional payload of the seventh Showcase 3 film Tattoo.
Probably if the two-minute Twisted Proverbs was played by itself, the Dresser would not give much thought to this tiny film where the punch line about the face of a Chinese man's wife looking like "the south end of a north-bound donkey" had more staying power than her actual face. On the other hand, the sixteen-minute Worn is the last film and in it a young woman agonizes over her promiscuous encounters with men as she stands in her closet trying to find a party dress that does not remind her what a wanton she is. Although the Dresser found the conceit of Worn interesting and realistic--women often have emotional behaviors about their clothing and shoes, the end of film was confusing. Wearing every day clothes, Emma tries to redeem the one good relationship she had only to find out that the ex-BF has moved on. He tells her to do what he did after she left him and that was to get in the car and drive away from the life in L.A. As the credits roll, Emma, all dressed up, is at the party her friend urged her to come to as a way to forget her bad feelings about herself. Or at least that's what the Dresser assumes, meaning the protagonist had not changed, that if she can't hook up again with the good boy friend, she'll continue to be a bad girl.
While labeled a drama, TGIF by Australian Brian Lien borders on comedy and seems companionable with Carlini's Worn. The story is about a young woman, out with her women friends, who is made aware that her new flame is in the same bar with her, but she is reluctant to let him know that. The Dresser sees this story as a reverse stalking tale. The young woman doesn't want the new BF to think she is stalking him, but as she leaves he starts texting her until she realizes he sees her. At ten minutes, the Dresser thought this pretty effective short not quite short enough.
OF RADIATION & ANGEL MONSTERS
Leonids Geshichte (Leonid's Story) by German directors Rainer Ludwigs and Tetyana Chernyavska and Os anjos do meio da praça (The Angels in the Middle of the Square) by Brazilian directors Alé Camargo and Camila Carrossine are animations. However Leonids Geshichte mixes real people and scenery with drawings that shimmer the characters into action. Leonid's story concerns the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. While the nineteen-minute film starts like a happily-ever-after story about a man and wife who want a better life for themselves and their family, it becomes a painful account of what happens to their health as they were exposed to the radiation. The Dresser found the animation format an effective way to tell this modern-day calamity.
Os anjos do meio da praça is a colorful fairy tale that has a Harry Potter feel to it. Three angels in one, or one angel with three faces, (take your pick) fights with a fiery flying dragon and is wounded. The angel falls to earth and splits into three beings. The people of the town where the trinity angel falls build a cage over this set of creatures. On the sideline is a little boy with a conscience who watches all of this. While the angels won't eat human food, they accept boxes of the townspeople's unrealized dreams and in consuming these festering wants and desires, the angels become monsters. The boy grows up and bravely frees the trinity. Magically he becomes a boy again. This film feeds the stories of Tattoo and La Dernière Rondelle.