You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 17, 2010.

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When planning out the films I was going to try and see at the 2010 Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, I noticed one on the first Saturday called Contractor’s Routine. The image on the poster was intriguing and its categorization as a psychological thriller put in firmly in my wheelhouse. I checked out the website and was met by a somewhat jumbled mess of text and images, giving me the impression that perhaps the finished film would show it’s independent budget on its sleeve. I therefore sat down for the screening with reserved expectations, hoping to at least be entertained with some Russian flavor from writer/director Yuri Tsapayev as the first non-local work of the day. Let’s just say I wasn’t prepared for the stunning work that soon unfolded. Visually gorgeous and intelligent in the pithy dialogue spoken by the complex characters involved, the work easily vaulted itself to the top of my Best of 2010 list. Whether it stays there or not remains to be seen, but as of now, there has been nothing better.

Jacob is an independent contractor/carpenter that appears to live via his work; a small apartment is doubled as his studio— mattress atop his table to form a bed—looking as worn down as its resident. He is high-strung and introverted as we see him imagine a fantasy woman to make love to upon waking up in the morning. Her visage is the one bright spot in an otherwise dingy existence, not even able to brush his teeth with the sink since the urinal in the building’s bathroom is the only clean running water, you can only imagine the thoughts going on in his head. Very deliberate in his motions and actions, quietly determined on an unknown quest besides a phone call to his girlfriend, (one who’s only involvement in the relationship is to take his money—you can’t blame him for having naked dream girls in bed), home appears to be a safe haven for him; a sanctuary of silence that keeps the voices out. Once he steps away, however, the quiet breaks into a never-ending assault of philosophical rants and violent temptations.

Jacob, (a tour-de-force performance from Kevin Giffin), is an odd number in this universe. Solitary and chosen to keep the balance—working to make things even—he imagines bloodied outcomes of staccato vigilantism, but keeps a cooler head in reality. His diatribes show the complexities of existence, arguing constantly with his friend, coworker, alter-ego, and literal conscience Esau, (a very funny, yet deep turn by Richard Frederick); the two weigh in on such subjects as Octo-Mom, the idea of whether she hears the call of God’s desire for procreation stronger than others or if she is a selfish woman with no regard for her children’s well-being. Jacob guesses that at least one of her fourteen kids will eventually grow up to be a criminal, a life of squalor and needing to fight for attention and health deems it a very real possibility. And then there is the subject of intent versus action. Is accidentally killing a bunch of people through unknown poisoning worse than someone planning a mass murder, but screwing it up and only killing himself? Is the intent to harm more evil than actual harm unplanned? There is definitely something to the argument and it’s one close to Jacob’s core; himself feeling guilt when treading upon a person’s essence in thought although never their body in action.

The journey of the film takes us on an unknown trajectory; we watch him during what could be a normal day of supply shopping, dentist visits, and a planned evening out with his lady friend. But within these stops are glimpses of the malicious intent residing within. Esau, (a name with a deeper religious connotation in regards to Jacob), does his best to quell the flames, reminding always that “the more a soldier sleeps, the less harmful he is” or that his dreams won’t accomplish anything but trouble. Jacob’s short fuse is tested regularly—he wants nothing more than to bash a hardware store clerk’s head in with a hammer when he fails to discount items on sale; he’d choke the life out of a mother neglecting her crying baby if given the chance; and would brutally maim his dentist and priest for the sexual indiscretions they think about and possibly act on. We as viewers become complicit in these murders, not only by watching his fantasies carry them out, but also by subconsciously cheering him on, knowing that the victims deserve what’s coming. In a Fascist state like Nazi Germany, the retribution dreamed up by Jacob would be praised and encouraged. Yet through all the pent up rage, Esau always calms him to quietly go about his business, ignoring the travesties occurring. Jacob is a pushover as a result, letting everyone walk all over him; a Christ-like figure in turning the other cheek and sacrifice, but an inversed one due to his desire for punishment.

Two ends of the spectrum that are equal yet completely opposite, mirrored like a 24 and a 42. It is a phrase uttered by Easu towards the middle of the film when Jacob finds a kindred spirit in a butterfly collector played by Arthur Scappaticci. Jacob bought two sets of brass numbers to repair the man’s door and, while there, notices the care and precision that went into the stranger’s butterfly displays. Here is a man that has made something beautiful out of dead things, much like his own craft at making objects from wood—a dead material that was once a living and breathing entity in its own rite. I’ll just say this about the scene: pay particular attention to the conversation held when exiting the apartment. It is dialogue thought to be unimportant at the time, but so very vital to what is happening during the entire film, hidden beneath the surface. It’s only revealed at the end during a conclusion that still brings a chill—not because of Jacob’s ‘work’, but because of how everything that came before makes sense in a completely different way as a result. I loved the script’s words for the surface quality of being intelligent and thought-provoking, much like a film such as Waking Life, but only after I experienced the end did I fully understand pieces truly fit together.

Tsapayev has created something that begs for repeat viewings. I look back at scenes from memory and realize how different they all are when put in context with the ending. Contractor’s Routine is a puzzle to be solved through sights and sounds; it’s a story that never panders to its audience or believes they won’t understand. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear people come out of a viewing, shaking their heads and wondering what the heck happened; but that is their loss. I’d rather see a challenging work of art from an auteur that dares to be original than some piece of compromised garbage, watered-down to appease a mainstream public. Whether the words complicate or not, though, one can’t deny the aesthetic at work or the director’s eye for interesting compositions and visuals. Jacob is doing God’s bidding, he has been chosen to do what others can’t fathom or stomach. As his own judge and jury inside his mind, the real horror at hand is what happens when Esau isn’t there to keep him safe from himself. But then who’s to say God doesn’t want the vengeance and retribution? Perhaps Easu’s conscience is actually preventing Jacob from doing the work he is meant to accomplish. That’s the scariest thought of them all, if only because I can actually fathom it being a possibility.

Contractor’s Routine 10/10

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photography:
[1] Kevin Giffin, Danielle Pirata, Julia Heller, and Richard Frederick in Contractor’s Routine, an independent feature film directed by Yuri Tsapayev. © CR LLC
[2] Leo Gladkov in Contractor’s Routine, an independent feature film directed by Yuri Tsapayev. © CR LLC

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Conquering your fears—I think that is as good a description as any of what Lisa Ford, (and her son Zack Ford, who co-directed), was looking to express with in her short film The Teacher. Screening at the Buffalo Niagara Film festival, the piece is an interesting mix of reality and fantasy, showing many of the activities for which Hermes is the patron God of. A stand-in for orators and literature, (the teacher), as well as thieves, liars, athletics and sports, (the student); this God arises from the water at the start of the movie to watch how both Marian and Conner interact. It seems at first to just be your run-of-the-mill relationship between teacher and student, especially learned professor and under-achieving kid, until we start to understand exactly where Marian is coming from, and how much more complex her character is.

The first collision between these two occurs during a test in her Classics class. She discovers him cheating and throws him out of the room. Unable to admit his wrongdoing, the boy’s knowledge that an F could cause him to be ineligible for the swim team is all that is on his mind. The bitterness clouds his judgment and instead of understanding her side to the problem—how could she let someone get away with blatant deception in front of the rest of the class—he selfishly confronts her with malice, refusing to help as she drops her groceries in the street, even kicking a piece of fruit before he leaves. And this is how so many people live their lives, running around without regard for the others co-existing in close proximity. Marian is so much more than just some teacher collecting a paycheck, uncaring if her students do good or not. She had to fight to go to college against a father that thought it a waste of time and money; she gave up her dreams to travel in order to study and succeed on her own. These days sees a different generation, one of entitlement and laziness.

Full of regret and questioning exactly what she has done with her life, Marian arrives at a bar, spills her troubles to the one person who will listen and decides to give Conner the chance no one gave her. But it’s too late at this point. While the kid may forgive her now and be thankfully for her compassion, her help was only relevant if it worked towards his swimming goals. She tries to become a figure that he can trust and lean upon, but he wants nothing of it. So here she is again, worthless to the world and empty from the opportunities she let slip away. Tried and worn down—I won’t say her character might have been contemplating suicide, maybe just retirement—everything changes when she believes Conner is in danger. Putting her own fears aside, she does the most selfless thing one can do; it’s an opportunity to start her life fresh and with purpose, a message sent by Hermes that she receives with open arms.

Ford’s film is very lyrical and makes sure to place Joyce Feurring’s face (as Marian) as the core image, seeing the defeat in her eyes where so much optimism once resided. The performance is central to the success of the story, pulling off the role of strict teacher at the start while also the compassionate educator who understands the job description more than her contemporaries who only looking at punks like Conner and dismiss them rather than reach out a hand to help. Marian sees so much of her past in this boy; she notices all the promise that made her who she is, only it’s trapped within him. Andre Diniz does a wonderful job showing Conner’s ambivalence towards the future, that huge chip on his shoulder preventing him from opening his eyes to what really matters. If the end of both their trajectories shows us anything, it’s that it is never too late. Whether you were just born or a day away from death, it is up to you to seize the day and make of it what you will, despite any fears or obstacles standing in the way.

The Teacher 8/10

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photography:
Andre Diniz and Joyce Feurring. Photo by Nick Klimaszewski. From www.theteachershortfilm.com/.

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Sometimes a film can be successful as nothing more than a good time; a point driven home by the local Buffalo production Bravo Sierra. It’s a satire of the war in Iraq that is so over-the-top you can’t help but become part of the joke. While the first few minutes are funny, the performance of jack-of-all-trades Jason Aupperle, (writer, director, producer, editor, and star), seems too grating to look beyond. The film quality isn’t the greatest, the one-shot cutting abrupt as you wonder why two guys can’t have a conversation in the same frame, and Robert Imbs’ moustache is so fake you question why you’re still in your seat. Through it all, though, you’re in stitches as Imbs self-consciously rubs his nose in need of a coke snort, talking about an affair with the 400-pound First Lady. And Aupperle’s tough guy squinting is revealed to be tongue-in-cheek, not a bad acting crutch. A CNN-style newsreel credit sequence soon catches us up on the history of Middle Eastern city Shitholestan, and we finally understand what’s happening. It’s all a joke with a bunch of actors having the time of their lives hamming it up. Watch it with that in mind and you’ll have just as much fun as them.

The affair, captured in some very important blackmail photos given to Aupperle’s Johnny Appleseed, is why he’s been reassigned from her protection detail to a stint in the world’s armpit. Shitholestan has the best sod stockpiles on the planet and thus has been carved up by France, Russia, the US, and Canada. The figurehead king/president is Mubarek, (I’m hoping a mocking wink to Egypt’s president and not my family), and he has been looking to side with whomever leaves him in control—the North American rivals seeming to be frontrunners in that competition. Appleseed finds himself to be a pawn in the middle of the two governments’ game for takeover and is shot down by friendly fire and left for dead. A rebel leader, the Russian-trained Igor played by local bassist Kent Webber, takes the soldier into his camp for intelligence and a way to rid this country of imperialist hostility. They prepare for the fight that is forthcoming while Phil Kurily’s General plays his bureaucratic chess with Dave Gilmet’s Canadian representative. It is all morons being led by morons as the events transpiring become a series of screw-ups and back-stabbing as the two western nations attack each other, allowing Appleseed one final mission to take out everyone who left him for dead.

But the plotlines of political espionage don’t take long to become inconsequential. As a viewer, you eventually don’t care who is going to live or die, whether the US gets control of the sod, or even if a nuclear bomb detonates and destroys half of the planet—none of that matters. I think Aupperle would be the first to tell you that the story is just the springboard for the comedic gems and obvious jabs at American government policy. You’ve got the typewriter captions for new locations, such as Fort Michael Dukakis and Fort Spiro T. Agnew; the blatant use of toy helicopters greenscreened into the frame, that I must say look pretty great and reminded me of when my friends made Lego movies for book reports in high school; and purposely placed continuity errors like Mubarek’s eye patch switching eyes mid-film. All it’s missing is for the characters themselves to also notice these mistakes in order to become a full on farce, if it wasn’t already. The filmmakers know exactly how long to make a gag last, at times even going so far beyond what’s acceptable that it’s made funny again—see Kristin Gilmet’s sexy Nazi-like superspy’s laughter for evidence.

Part of Bravo Sierra’s charm also comes with the Western New York locations doubling as Shitholestan. When you have Letchworth State Park as the jungle; the Naval Park, complete with thruway traffic in the distance, as the hub for American warships; and Mohawk Place’s bar filling in for a Middle Eastern saloon and setting for ninja fighting, the joke is even funnier for those familiar with the places. There is also something to be said about keeping flubbed takes in the final film, especially when this thing looks to have been shot digitally. I’d understand keeping mistakes due to budgetary constraints and film stock limitations, but when you can just press delete and reshoot, I have to believe this was an artistic decision. Kurily is the biggest culprit, but his deadpan line delivery, even funnier when he’s tearing his opponent apart with verbal barbs and expletives, pulling out everything but ‘yo mama’ jokes, is enough to look past it. Every scene with his general is hilarious; I have to say that, though, because he has stars on his lapel … he outranks me.

Credit is definitely due to Aupperle for understanding what he was doing. There were no egomaniacal thoughts in his head that what he was crafting was a serious film to be thought of as end of year award fodder. By using the medium of film, he was able to cull together a humorous ensemble of quirky eccentrics and write them some funny lines and absurd situations. What film besides a romp such as this can have Dave Gilmet’s Canadian official getting turned on as his real life wife Kristin tortures a rebel Shitholestani citizen? How about making that citizen, played by Shelley Imbs, a rough and tumble warrior without a tongue whose only utterances are manly grunts? Yet nothing is better than the muscle on both the American and Canadian sides of the fence. The blonde, mute, morally devoid flyboy popping his gum is a great nod to Top Gun-type characterizations and the red-bereted Canuck using Todd Bertuzzi-style fisticuffs to get the answers he wants is priceless. The lack of cast lists anywhere online hinders my ability to mention this actor’s name, but his Canadian accent and cavalier attitude is by far my favorite part of the film. And the fact he hates on Ontario first because he’s from Saskatchewan and second because he’s from Calgary, (which last I knew was in Alberta), only adds to the joke and broadens my smile.

Bravo Sierra 7/10

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photography:
[1] Jason Aupperle as Johnny Appleseed
[2] Kristin Gilmet and Erik Aupperle.
photos ripped from trailer edited by Robert Imbs.

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Not to belittle the comparison of Badfish to the films of Christopher Guest that the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival’s program contains, but that is some lofty thinking. The movie being a faux documentary is an accurate similarity, yet what makes the works of Guest successful is that they are send-ups of real life events. Amateur theatre troupes perform, dog shows exist, and folk bands actually have concerts. So, the premise of the film revolving around a goldfish eating competition is just too outlandish to be anything other than a one-note joke. I’ll admit to laughing at the absurdity more than once, but that’s where the line of effectiveness ends.

Korey Green’s student film relies heavily on Kevin Polowy’s script, or at least his outline if most of the work is improvised, as I’d guess it was. Consisting of testimonial-style headshots of characters talking about events that transpired with cut-scenes of humor and documents of contests and training, the whole thing really just showcases the performances. For the most part, the actors involved are pretty natural and funny in their delivery. Ryan McKee and Polowy himself play the two best friends and biggest rivals in the area for goldfish eating. Members of NICCAGE, (The National and International Community of Competitors in the Association of Goldfish Eating, admittedly a pretty humorous use of an acronym), they are looking to rise up the ranks with the last contest of the year, taking place at Buffalo’s Wing Fest, before Ryan moves away. The fish consumption can get a bit nauseating, but as a short of only twenty minutes, it doesn’t quite wear out its welcome.

I did enjoy the guerrilla style shooting at the Wing Fest—love that kid with the piercing stare looking at the camera—and the addition of numerous local Buffalo institutions, even if the product placement might have given them a little monetary tradeoff. Even the jokes are timely, focusing a large part of the fish eating rule book towards the fact all fish must stay down for thirty minutes before throwing up—a nice nod to Kobayashi’s reversal during a Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest a couple years back. But, besides a wonderfully funny supporting role from Jen Kidwell as Ryan’s girlfriend, and a total belly-laugh inducing moment courtesy of an extra’s expletive-laced passing by the camera in response to Ryan’s hello, the rest seems a little forced. The good news, though, is that despite the shortcomings, these are still young aspiring filmmakers and their film did cause some genuine laughs. So, the future is bright and hopefully they hone their skills and continue to improve.

Badfish 5/10

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The eight-minute short film Cadillac, by Nathan Lewinski, is a sentimental portrait of the memory of a man who has left this earth. Beginning without dialogue, an older gentlemen turning on his Caddy while still in the garage, I thought that maybe my cynical mind was playing tricks on me. The first reaction I had to the scene was that this man was committing suicide, especially as the sequence blurs out into black for the next act to begin. Only when I read the press notes in the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival’s program was I validated, feeling that Lewinski portrayed the scene exactly as planned instead of thinking I needed to start watching some more uplifting films to shake the ever-present initial interpretations of death and depression I obviously harbor.

Cadillac then becomes the antithesis of a small plotline used in Rain Man. Whereas that Cruise and Hoffman film used a vintage car to stand-in for the love the boys felt they deserved—a machine that was shown more compassion than their father’s own flesh and blood—the car in question here is the last visage of a man our lead Bryan cannot easily forget. Once the prologue ends, Bryan Lillis’ character arrives at his father’s house, (played by Richard Derwald, Forever Young’s own Mr. Fitness—shameless plug for the paper I layout every month), entering the garage that houses the car that embodied the man’s essence as well as what killed him. Emotions run high and what is first a rough roller coaster of pain and anger towards his father’s action soon evolves into acceptance. The only thing left for Bryan is to turn the key and honor the man’s life with one more drive.

Shot well and utilizing an intriguingly composed sequence that starts in letterboxed super-widescreen, eventually adjusting to fill the theatre screen’s frame, Lewinski definitely has a good handle on making sure to only show exactly what the audience needs to see in the short timeframe on display. His use of focus and cropping in the prologue alludes to the suicide in progress and his ability to let Lillis grieve without the distraction of camera movement or unnecessary flair shows a level of restraint not always seen in this era of quick cuts and kinetic pacing. If there was one aspect that I was unsure of, it was the choice of music. However, while the Beach Boys song used seemed too obvious in its tone, I did grow to accept it as being effective and warranted. It adds to the Cadillac’s era and the use of a dreamlike reunion between father and son—giving the boy the goodbye he wasn’t allowed in reality.

Cadillac 8/10

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photography:
Bryan Lillis in Nathan Lewinski’s Cadillac.

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By far one of the highlights during my first day at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, Emily Johnson’s senior film project for the Savannah College of Art and Design, St. Gertrude, is a gorgeous little film. Right from the beginning, during a sequence that sees a family in mourning, as the grandmother lies dying in bed, you can notice the strong sense of composition and quality of visual aesthetic. The credits then run above a static shot of young Gertrude on the floor of her room, angel wings superimposed onto her back, foreshadowing the conversation about to take place in her Catholic school with a couple of bratty girls asking where her halo is. All angels need a halo, so perhaps Gertrude hasn’t done enough good deeds. Let’s just say the one taking her juice box under the false pretenses of karmic action doesn’t do anything to get her closer to heavenly status.

It is a moment like this that brings St. Gertrude out of the family film tropes it could have easily fallen into. While the moral of the tale is solid and worth being told to the younger generation, the film itself definitely leans more towards adult viewers with its cursing and strip club locale. Gerty wants to do right and earn the halo she desires, but after watching her bus drive away, she begins a journey home that leads to places she really shouldn’t be. All those around her are selfish, from the girls at school, the bouncer at Heaven—a local drag queen strip club—who is too ambivalent to the world to notice an eight year old entering the establishment, and even Gertrude’s own mother, finding it easier to yell over the phone, make racist comments, and blame everyone else but herself, rather than get out there and actively search for her daughter.

Only one person has the kindness and maturity to reach out a helping hand for the girl. The most unlikely of sources, it is Ms. Leroy Brown, the star of Heaven’s drag show, dressed as an angel, who finds it in his heart to treat Gerty as an equal. Rather than shatter her dreams of earning her halo, Bryan Anthony’s Leroy keeps the ruse going by adapting his own life to the fantasy. When the girl asks how he earned his halo, the response of, “you really don’t want to know,” hits home with a big laugh as we adults in the audience can imagine what sexual act he might have performed to get the job at Heaven, and therefore the costume, but also because he diverts the conversation without being inappropriate or pandering to the girl. Not only does he keep the possibility of angels existing alive, but even extends the charade to say that Gerty might in fact be a Saint—just as holy and kind as an angel, yet without the need for wings and halos.

Here he is, her real life guardian angel, bolstering her spirits and showing that other people in the world strive to be just as good as she. Again, though, the film itself has another message, one more inline with the gritty, inner city locations and the people who inhabit them. It’s the bigotry that still exists in the world with Teresa Arnold-Simmons’ portrayal of Gertrude’s mother that soon comes to the forefront. She is a woman who’s narrow-mindedness is so ingrained within her that no matter how happy she is getting her daughter back, the prejudices cause her to forsake the one person willing to help because of the color of his skin and the sexual ambiguity of his wardrobe. Young Stella Sauers is absolutely transcendent as Gertrude, keeping her sense of innocence throughout the adult situations and scary scenes, but it is the final reaction through the window of her home that resonates the most. Watching the interaction between her mother and Leroy finally tears down the rosy sheen that had filtered her world. You just have to hope the influence of an angel such as he will have more of a lasting effect on the girl’s psyche and character than the closed-minded, bitter woman who is her mother.

St. Gertrude 9/10

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photography:
Bryan Anthony and Stella Sauers in St. Gertrude.

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I really didn’t know what to expect when Becky Lane’s short film Hens & Chicks began. It opens up to show young Hanna and Marco on their way home from school. You assume the two have whatever kind of crush one can at the age on each other, and see it confirmed somewhat when the two race. The finish is somewhat anticlimactic as Marco trips and falls—as he is wont to do—relaying the fact his carrying her books hindered his ability to go full speed. With conversations about the importance of the human body to create poop and Marco’s father being a Cornell professor in Animal behavior, I started to think this could be a pretty entertaining look into childhood curiosity.

But then the short took a deeper turn as they discover a note saying Hanna’s Moms are out and that she should gather some eggs from the chicken coup for dinner. Not only does this reveal the fact that the chickens of the title are a literal part of the proceedings, but also alludes to the young girl having two mothers. And here is where the metaphor of a rooster comes into play, becoming the main crux of the story at hand. A seemingly harmless lesson from Marco about Hanna needing to get a rooster in order for chicks to be born, coupled with an old school black and white sex-ed video found online, plants the seed in her brain to wonder how exactly she came to be.

Mins, (Amy Driesler), thinks they should have broached the subject with their daughter long ago, but Sarah, (Sarah Hankins), thinks it’s a subject that needs delicate care, if not glossing over completely. Hanna’s insistence on finding out who her ‘rooster’ is becomes too much to leave unanswered and finally the women share the story of her birth. The whole thing is a rather endearing portrait of a family’s love for one another no matter how ‘different’ they may be from the societal norm people still hold onto. It also shows that the youth of today is more intelligent than we may think. Hanna finding out about her sperm donor—father may be too strong a word as Sarah’s definition of the word explains—will never make her love her mothers any less. It isn’t a matter of discontent or feeling betrayed and lied to; it’s just one’s curiosity for her origin.

Both Beatrice Miller and Diego Torrado are brilliant as Hanna and Marco, innocent and youthful as can be without seeming forced or unnatural. Miller is inquisitive and headstrong—much like her mothers—in her desire to find the truth. You can’t look at her with the ability to deceive, that fresh face untouched of the world’s horrors begs to be told what she desires, especially when it can only strengthen the bond between mother and child. As for Torrado, his delivery of lines that make him seem much older than his age is wonderful. When the subject of Hanna’s ‘rooster’ is brought up at the dinner table, his precocious statement of, “I’d actually be interested to hear it too,” garners a laugh. These are kids growing up and learning about the world and themselves. Lane crafts a memorable tale in that evolution; one that can resonate whether you can relate to the circumstances firsthand or not.

Hens & Chicks 7/10

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photography:
Diego Torrado and Beatrice Miller. Photo courtesy of www.hensandchicksfilm.com

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It’s tough to create a film that’s only four and a half minutes long that can resonate the same way a feature can with all its character development and plot progression. One way around the time frame is to just make it a fun little bit to entertain for the short span it lasts on screen. Dominick Saraceno’s Laundry Day attempts to do just that in its simple orchestration.

Taking place at an empty Laundromat, a guy (Clint Byrne) and a girl (Jenessa Kornaker) arrive with their wash. He arrives first and begins to remove articles of clothing from his basket while she enters and makes a beeline for the spot on the table next to him. It is a bit odd that she’d do this, causing my brain to immediately figure out the final reveal of the film, but I went along for the ride as the two start their loads and sit down with the kind of room two strangers would leave between them. She seems content to read, but he attempts to engage her in conversation, obviously interested romantically.

Once the line is spoken—“How long is a wash cycle?”—we discover the joke. They lead each other into the bathroom area for a little tryst, inevitably winding up back with their laundry and ready to move the clothes to the dryer; the audience anticipating him to ask the obvious question once again. The joke is funny and the two actors are sweet in their performances, making the whole thing worthwhile. Despite my knowing the end before the short even had a chance to begin, I’d still say the filmmakers did an admirable job and achieved their goal. I could do without the hokey music, though—maybe a bit too on the nose.

Laundry Day 5/10

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