Sundance Film Festival Shorts Collection 2017 2018
Distributed by Distributed by Grasshopper Film, 12 East 32nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Produced by Produced by Various
Directed by Directed by Peter Huang, Kristen Stewart, Anu Valia, Marshall Tyler, Renata Gasiorowska, Francisca Alegría
DVD, color, 88 min.
High School - General Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers
Date Entered: 12/11/2018
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Kathleen Spring, Nicholson Library, Linfield College, McMinnville, OR
This collection of six short films (5 live-action and 1 animated film) from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival is a delight to watch. Ranging from 5 to 19 minutes in length, each film is engaging and inventive, pulling the viewer in quickly. Each director also serves as the writer for their film.
The collection begins with 5 Films about Technology from director Peter Huang, a series of 5 intersecting vignettes that build upon each other. (Each successive vignette picks up where the previous one ended.) No single character gets to be too smart, and Huang uses humor to full effect as he satirizes technology. In Come Swim, first-time director Kristen Stewart opens with a hypnotizing image of an ocean wave, a suitable frame for a day-in-the-life film that vacillates between impressionism and realism. The soundscape is critical in Come Swim. Voiceovers are purposefully hard to decipher, as if the viewer is hearing them from far away or from underwater. Lucia, Before and After takes the viewer back into stark reality as director Anu Valia tells the story of a woman who, after traveling hundreds of miles, must endure Texas’s state-mandated 24-hour waiting period before she can get an abortion. As in Come Swim, sound is strategically deployed in Lucia, Before and After, particularly the use of the familiar “depleted health” sound from video games.
Director Marshall Tyler provides another example of the day-in-the-life genre with his short film Night Shift. Here, a typical workday for a bathroom attendant at a nightclub stands in for the difficulties of coming to terms with the end of his marriage. Pussy, an animated short directed by Renata Gasiorowska, is a sharply clever, playful, and truly funny look at what happens when a woman’s masturbation session takes a left turn. The final film in the collection, And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye, takes the viewer into the realm of the supernatural when an elderly woman assumes that death has finally come for her.
The Sundance Film Festival Shorts Collection 2017 is suitable for courses in film studies and art, but it would also appeal to public libraries that want to offer more than feature films and series as part of their video collections.
- Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction (And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye)
- Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction (Lucia, Before and After)