CineVegas Short Films Program Review

     June 22, 2008

Reviewed by Blake Walker

Last weekend at the Cinevegas film festival I had the opportunity to watch the short films series on Saturday. What I realized about a lot of these films-and perhaps about short films in general-is that they often start with a great deal of potential and before the 10 to 15 minutes is up they’ve dissolved into awkward puddles of messiness. Almost unanimously, these films were aesthetically pleasing and impressive for their craft only to be trumped by the drivel of their content. Now, I realize that this may be harsh given that these films are most often made by young artists trying to find their way, attempting to express themselves honestly and thoughtfully on the path to greater things but watching these films you can tell we live in an age of irony over sincerity and so when you do see one or two gems in the crop of hip theses you finally feel sated.

Two films in particular stayed with me and deserve kudos. The very first film to kick off the hour-and one of two to stand out-was Stars and Suns, written, directed and produced by Sarah Soquel Morhaim who is a practiced cinematographer and visual artist living in Los Angeles. Stars and Suns tells the surrealist tale of a brother and sister coming of age amid the tumult of their home life. In this piece Morhaim deftly expresses the discomfort common to so many families growing up and growing uncomfortable while exhibiting an impressive cinematographer’s visual skill. What’s more, there were some impressive but none too up stagey computer generated visual effects of outer space blended seamlessly into the expression. Morhaim’s is a work to look out for in the future.

By far the best short of the series though had to be one directed by a young British filmmaker named Sean Conway entitled Alex And Her Arse Truck. Recalling the style of such films as Trainspotting, Alex And Her Arse Truck trades drug addiction for sex addiction and gives insight into the anything-goes lifestyle of young British deviants and their kinky fetishes while retaining a sense of playfulness and humor, not to mention a completely unconventional soundtrack to sweeten the deal. Before you’ve made heads or tails of what you’re looking at, Alex and Her Arse Truck is over and you’re left with a sense of the new and ultra-erotic that may well become Sean Conway’s signature; a signature worth revisiting as his status as filmmaker ascends in the coming years.

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