Folded Whispers is a short documentary showing a live performance by poet Mark Anthony Thomas.
Thomas co-directed this film with Jordon Rooney and Shane MacFarland, a collection of 17 original poems about relationships, humanity, and incomprehension, which was filmed at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, in Pittsburgh.
Thomas’ performance starts with an inspirational opening monologue about the beginning of his career and how he got to where he is, as a poet. The scenes of the live performance are alternated with a private interview with the poet where he explains the origin and the reasoning behind each of his poems.
The second poem, Blind On Us, is brutally moving and honest. He reads: “The last time I felt this frustrated I walked out the door. The last time you walked out the door, I walked out to guide you back for the last time”. This powerful quote shows the ambivalence in our behaviors as human beings — a circle of life in human relationships.
Thomas’ poetry is easy to understand, it captivates you but is neither superficial nor predictable. His writing is deep enough to leave your soul wondering about the true meaning of our lives.
This 25-minute short will be a delight for anyone who is looking for a poetic, insightful, and at-times-political point of view on the world we live in.
THE CANDY NOTES is a 120-page fantasy script by Juliano Angeliano. The script is written as 10 different stories, set in different periods of time and locations, spanning from 800 BCE in Scotland to 2020 in Milan.
The ten stories are sandwiched between a bigger storyline, revolving around the Devil and his half-son-half-daughter Rooster-fer. In the first scene, the Devil celebrates the kid’s sixth birthday and decides that the time has come for the child to see what his father's job truly is.
The two start traveling in space and in time and meet 10 different victims, all guilty of being too greedy — for money, love, fame, motherhood, power — and making, sooner or later, a pact with the devil.
The structure reminds a bit of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, where oblivious little Rooster-fer is transported to earth to experience, as a mere spectator, what can happen to people when they surrender to their devilish desires.
This is no common script, one that wouldn’t be easy to produce due to the presence of many fantasy characters — the talking black panther, the mermaid, and the talking mannequins to mention a few.
The idea of the script is original. The grotesque characters remind us of the fantasy films of the 80s, with their countless talking animals, slimy little servants, etc. The dialogues are well written and the whole story makes surprising sense. The ending is open, the Devil gets into an argument with his wife regarding his terrestrial shenanigans, leaving the audience to interpret what will become of the Devil and of Rooster-fer.
This script will definitely be appreciated by fans of old-school fantasy films.
For I am dead is a film about unrequited gay love between a wealthy man and his gardener Jude. The 18-minute short film explores the complexity of living in the nineteenth century as a repressed gay man.
Patricia Delso Lucas’s direction is on point. the film is emotional and intense. Here, scenes of a supposed reality mix with scenes of all of Oscar’s worst fears: the film appears halfway between a dream and a nightmare, with Oscar’s worst fears coming to life right in front of him: his mother — who never accepted him, not even as a child — and the courtesans — frustrated by Oscar’s lack of sexual desire for them — chasing him with fire. A sort of reversed which hunt.
The photography, by Dominika Podczaska’s, helps greatly in the narration of the film. Wide shots of Jude suggest a distance, he’s right in front of us but he’s hard to reach. On the other hand, the courtesans are almost too close. Details of their faces and mouths make us feel uncomfortable, almost too close.
The sound is also quite well designed, provoking a sense of discomfort with the sound of laughter, drinking, and coughing, all over joyful music.
Al Nazemian shows us Oscar’s despair in a wonderful way. We feel so sorry for him, for his past life, shamed from a young age for being different, traumatized to the point that even as a middle-aged and wealthy man he can’t find peace sharing with his own sexuality and live according to his personal desires.
This film is set in the 1800s but it’s incredibly current. Good job to Patricia Delso Lucas for writing and directing such a delicate yet powerful film.
Yes, Darling! is a 25-minute psychological thriller by Stanislav Shelestov that revolves around Gosha, an average Joe who becomes the unlucky protagonist of an accident involving his wife, Galya, which will make him turn from an average man to a murderer in a snap.
The film takes a darker turn when we find out that the first half of the film only happened in Gosha’s mind, and that the truth is way more horrifying than what we initially thought.
Despite being a psychological horror/thriller, this film is full of comedy and dark humor. The scene where Gosha breaks up with his wife is very well-written; it’s funny how Gosha is bashfully trying to avoid making eye contact and doesn’t see his wife choking to death right in front of him. Or when the corpse of poor dead Galya is giving Gosha tips and tricks on how to dispose of her body and clean up afterward.
The two main actors are very believable and the script is fluid and witty.
The fact that all the scenes were shot in one apartment, with most of the scenes taking place in the living room, gives the audience a sense of claustrophobia that serves very well the purpose of creating psychological tension. By watching this film we almost feel like we’re trapped in that house with that couple.
Yes, Darling! is suspenseful and intriguing, and achieves the incredible task of being hilarious, without giving up on the macabre and the horror. A film to watch, that would especially be enjoyable for those who like psychological games and jigsaws.
Òran na h-Eala is a 13 minute film written, directed and co-produced by Steve Exeter, that imagines the agony of real-life ballet dancer Moira Shearer, after being tormented for a year by two movie producers to become the star of their 1948 film, The Red Shoes.
The opening credits of the film show a sequence of paintings of different landscapes with red ballerina shoes in the middle. This sequence mirrors the opening sequence of The Red Shoes — an elaborate 15 minute ballet performance using a series of beautiful hand-painted backdrops, showing Moira dancing as her character, Victoria Page, wearing red ballet shoes.
In Exeter’s film, despite throwing herself body and soul into dancing, Moira struggles to stand out as a prima ballerina, so the last thing she wants in her life is to pause her ballet career to become a movie star.
The directing is original and it brilliantly shows us the images that might have gone through Moira’s head at the moment of her life. The beautiful shot of Moira, now dressed in a swan lake costume, rotating on a platform opposite to the two film producers glaring at her, is a sort of metaphor of her trying to succeed in her work, but constantly having to face the dominant male gaze. Both are connected, existing on the same platform, and both are waiting for the other to get off first to become the winner in this power struggle.
And as it often happens, both in films and in life, the woman will be the one to capitulate first and to accept her fate in spite of herself.
The music is deeply evocative and well written, as it instantly carries us to another time. The color correction, fuzzy and blurred with pastel colors, sets the perfect 40s Hollywood atmosphere, while the gorgeous costumes add a lot of production value to this film.
The moment when Moira actually decides to accept the offer is, in my opinion, the best scene of the film. Now wearing the red ballet shoes, a disharmonious Moira is singing and performing a modern and unmusical dance in front of the two producers. Pointe feet are here replaced with flexed feet.
By rebelling to the precise and strict ballet shapes, Moira shows that she is rebelling to the system forcing her to be someone she is not. Or maybe the change in her dance pace is showing her permanently abandoning ballet to become a movie star.
The photography is captivating, and the editing complements perfectly the image created by the director and the cinematographer. The acting is very convincing.
A brilliant and artistic film, that’s enjoyable to watch, perfectly coherent with its theme and well executed. Bravo!