/slash 2017: Fantastic Shorts Competition

Like last year, the /slash Filmfestival again held a contest for short films, where the winner is chosen by the audience. We don’t know who won yet, but here are some very short reviews for this year’s entries.

This short films is beautifully shot, and uses impressive landscapes to present a couple of haunting, surreal images which were great to look at. However, I could have done without all the biblical symbolism. Mostly, though, it simply was far too long and lethargic to get its point across in an effective manner. That I was this close to falling asleep, even though it was the first screening of the day, speaks volumes. Still, it’s definitely a nice screen saver.

Amos Beauty
In general, and with very few exceptions that prove the rule, I’m not a huge fan of mockumentaries. Thus, “Amos Beauty” was already off to a bad start with me. That said, the concept in itself was nice, and there were a couple of funny moments. Nevertheless, it was a one-note idea that even though this was one of the shorter short films, grew tired rather quickly.

I don’t know. It probably would have helped to get a little context. In the beginning, I didn’t know if this was a feature or a documentary (only later it turned out that it was the latter), and it would have been nice to not just get thrown into this without any foreknowledge. It also was too long. Again, maybe if it would have dug deeper into the artist himself, his methods and his motivation, it could have been interesting. As it stands, it was one of the weakest entries for me.

I Love Eva Marsh
Finally a good one! Yes, it’s nothing special, and I could have done without the “women are the source of all evil”-subtext (his mother leaving him behind, and his would be-girlfriend getting him into this mess in the first place). But it told a nice (if not revolutionary) story in an effective way, was nicely shot and acted, and I especially liked the ending (the final shot was absolutely perfect). Nice!

Am Berg
Ugh. I really really wanted to like this, since I try to be a patriot, but… nah. The setting was nice, but it was rather pointless, and most of all, it offered a galore of extremely cheap jump scares with an incredible loud and aggressive sound mix. It is never a good sign if a director has to rely on that to create tension.

Nothing A Little Soap and Water Can’t Fix
Difficult. To show the similarities between so many different bathroom scenes of countless movies was quite interesting, and also a little revealing. However, I have a hard time accepting something that feels like your standard YouTube-Supercut for such a competition. But taken for itself, it was ok.

The Babysitter
The story is nothing special, and almost painfully predictable; you pretty much know where this is going from the first frame on. However, it has a nice nostalgic feel to it, and was short enough to not get boring. Nothing special and rather trivial, but nevertheless quite entertaining.

Granted, as an Austrian I was probably predisposed to liking this one (then again, look what I had to say about “Am Berg”), but I really thought that “Mike’s” was very cool. I liked the concept of an “alps-western” taking place at a modern-day gas station, the characters, the direction, the music… I liked pretty much everything about it with the exception of the ending (I would have preferred a more lethargic, darkly humorous and thus “austrian” conclusion, with him waking up, having a look around, and returning to his beer). And the flashback was a little unnecessary. Other than that, it was great.

Special Agent
Completely average, and totally unremarkable. The effects were surprisingly hokey, and the buddy-cop-setting something that we’ve seen a zillion times before, but it was well shot, short and to the point, and entertaining.

The Plague
Probably my favorite of all the short films (narrowingly beating “Mike’s”), mostly because it was the only one that resonated with me on an emotional level. The scene in the house between daughter and father was devastating, and the final short harrowing. That one really stayed with me for a while. Yes, it’s a little predictable, and from a visual point of view, not the best of the bunch, but the story and the emotions it provoked more than made up for that.

I wasn’t that taken with this one for the first couple of minutes, and definitely could have done without the voice over-commentary. However, in the second half, it gets sweet, romantic, and even slightly touching, and the scene with the classical music and the flying guts was absolute perfection.

Holy F__k
The idea was quite nice, and there were a couple of funny moments. To say I’m not the biggest fan of “The Exorcist” would be an understatement, thus I’m more than game for a parodistic short film that pokes a little fun at it. However, it was a one-note idea, and felt rather like a “Saturday Night Live”-like gag than a real short film. Still, it was a funny idea, and the film itself was short enough to not overstay its welcome.

Les Iles
It started off nice enough. The first couple of minutes were quite sensual and erotic; I even wasn’t that appalled by the appearance of “vagina-face”. However, it then switched its focus multiple times to different characters, and thus – for me – completely lost its rhythm. It also was too long and too artsy for my taste. Thus, after a nice beginning, it lost me rather quickly – even though I have to acknowledge its nice, visual aesthetic.

Neck and Neck
Nah, sorry. I liked neither the story (if you can call it that) nor the animation. Its only saving grace is that it’s really short – but even that didn’t help much.

A “women in prison”-short film that was far too shallow and hackneyed for what it seemingly wants to achieve. There are far better rape and revenge-tales out there – which makes this one painfully redundant. At least it was well acted, and looked nice.

Even Ants Strive for Survival
really wish I could say I liked it, mostly because I actually really like the idea behind it. But somehow, I never found my way into this tale, and thus got very bored very quickly. I can acknowledge its intentions – but not much else, I’m afraid.

Bon Appétit
Well, yeah, I don’t know. It certainly looked pretty enough, and offered a couple of really beautiful images. But the story itself was rather unimaginative, and I wouldn’t really have needed the twist which made this into some sort of critical commentary on politics. Overall, It tasted rather stale.

Run Baby Run
I totally didn’t recognize that this was from the same guy as last year’s “Lost” – and if anything, “Run Baby Run” is even worse. This is a really strange dude who seems to think he makes art – and I seriously hope this was the last time the /slash filmfestival invited him. Absolutely terrible, pointless, and a complete waste of time – even though it lasted hardly a minute.

Wandering Soul
One of the better ones, but not my favorite of the entire bunch. However, it was really well shot, quite gripping and atmospheric, I loved the setting, and also enjoyed the rather unusual twist. Nothing too special, but definitely worth watching.

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