2013 DC Shorts: Women Working without Words
Coming September 19-29, 2013, are screenings over 150 short films (under 20 minutes) from around the world in the DC Shorts Film Festival. In six Washington, DC area venues, Festival organizers under the direction of filmmaker Jon Gann will air 17 unique 90-minute showcases. Marking its tenth anniversary, this film festival has grown from its first year of one theater with films showing just over two days.
This year's selection of something for everyone--dramas, comedies, animation, sci-fi, documentaries and experimental films, includes 16 films from Russian directors. While defending the films, Gann was apologetic in an August 6 press conference given the current political situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin over asylum given to American whistle blower Edward Snowden. Gann said he has broken off his relationship with the Russian embassy.
The Dresser has decided to look at some of the films offered in the DC Shorts Film Festival in a series of essays published here at The Dressing. What immediately caught her attention were two films without dialogue that powerfully make their points from a woman's perspective--"Frost" and "Duel."
Canadian director Jeremy Ball presents a visually rich portrait of an Inuit family of three that is running out of food. The daughter takes up her lance and makes a journey to an urban center. What happens in this 13-minute film is a huge surprise and the Dresser will not spoil the pleasure of discovery with further comment.
In the four-minute "Duel" by Portuguese director Philippe Teixeira Tambwe, a graffiti hoodlum wearing a hoodie sprays a swastika on a subway wall but is scared into hiding when someone enters the platform. The intruder is a girl who picks up the dropped spray can and neutralizes the offensive symbol. The hood confronts the girl and they move through a tango of interactions where this girl, like the one in "Frost" overcomes adversity.
Like "Duel" and to a lesser degree "Frost" when the father pushes the last raw meat back to his daughter, the emphasis in Chloe Yelena Miller's poem "No Infinitive" is about intense communication. What the Dresser finds particularly delicious about Miller's poem is the discussion that takes gender out of the equation ("Gender neutral, were we/ heterosexual?") without removing the vulnerability that a woman risks ("I wear one piece of my two piece:/ topless.").
We met in Esperanto, declared: ...............Mia mas vin.
Which means (in case I forget): ...............I love you.
We swam in the Sardinian sea, the water as blank
as your conjugations. I wear one piece of my two piece:
I will, first person future,
label these photos in our language
without a national body. The word
for our actins is not a noun.
Gender neutral, were we
heterosexual? The flexible
syntax translucent, nudity's definition.
I could pronounce (phonetics): ....................You.
There were rules: The accent
is always on the next to last syllable.
It was Carnival, a meatless (almost meaty) masked
party. Lent followed, we gave up
Chloe Yelena Miller
Copyright © 2013 Chloe Yelena Miller