We Are One Retrospective – Offerings from New York

The New York Film Festival contributed two short film packages to the We Are One Global Film Festival. The first program was titled “Film as a Subversive Art” and was by far the more interesting selection. The second program was titled “A Passion for Films”. Usually I only chose to write about the short films I particularly enjoyed (in this case selecting my 2 favourites from each program). This time (probably because it was the final day of the festival) I also reviewed one which was a huge disappointment.

Mad Ladders (2015, USA, 10 min) – Program 1: Film as a Subversive Art

A mixture of apocalyptic prophesying, manipulated images of TV musical performances, and sporadic outbreaks of a chiptune version of Tori Amos’ “Crucify”. Not honestly sure what I thought of it, but it’s one of the two films from this package which stood out to me.

Indefinite Pitch (2016, USA, 23 min) – Program 1: Film as a Subversive Art

A series of B&W stills of the Androscoggin River, accompanied by a narration which starts as an intentionally bad movie pitch, reveals the hidden history of a lost silent film made in the area, and goes off into various musings about the nature of film and representation, whether a series of stills counts as a film, what difference this makes to the film when the frame rate is changed from 23.96 fps to the standard 24 fps… The pitch of the narrator’s voice and the level of the soundtrack change with every picture, and various interpretations of the title come into play. You’ll either find it fascinating, like I did, or irritatingly self-indulgent. (But I really did like it.)

Violettina (2016, Italy, 4 min) – Program 2: A Passion for Films

Footage of the filmmaker’s daughter picking flowers and rolling in the fields and cut to music from Verdi’s “La Traviata” as an attempt to conjure the main character’s inner life.

Dramatic Relationships (2016, USA, 6 min) – Program 2: A Passion for Films

An illustration of the bullshit women have to put up with in films. Male filmmaker and actors micromanage expressions, impose their interpretations, suggest clothing alterations, improvise inappropriate behaviour, appropriate women’s words as their own. A series of between-takes vignettes, with a low key but appropriate ending featuring one of the four actresses who is tired of it all.

Rosalinda (2010, Argentina/South Korea, 42 min) – Program 2: A Passion for Films

A group of actors rehearse an Argentinan production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on an island in Tigre. There are various behind-the-scenes romantic liaisons and it all ends with a game of “Assassins”. I watched this on the basis of the description, which says that the actress playing Rosalind “starts to slowly embody Rosalind, and transforms into the object of desire of other cast members on the island.” Sounds interesting, but while that actress is the focal character, there is no resemblance at all between this description and what happens – she’s more of an outside observer, none of the couples involve her, and the film ends abruptly when her character is killed in the game. I have no idea what the filmmaker intended to achieve, but for me the whole thing collapsed into wasted potential.

Watched But Not Reviewed

Program 1: Film as a Subversive Art

Program 2: A Passion for Films

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