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SXSW Film Review: Basic (2020)

Basic (2020) is a three-minute short film that was due to be shown at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival before the cancellation of the event. Directed by Chelsea Devantez, this film stars her alongside Georgia Mischak and Nelson Franklin. This short film is about exploring the insecurities in all of us, as Gloria (Devantez) spends her time looking through somebody else’s Instagram feed.

It was a genuine surprise to see how much content was featured in a three-minute film, and yet Chelsea manages to pack in as much as she can without it feeling too overwhelmed. This film is excellently directed and it is equally impressive that she has to direct herself in some sequences as well. This story has so much style and presence, and the voice of the director here is loud and clear and I love seeing that in projects like this.
When you tell a story in so little time, it becomes important to focus on one key feature and stick to it. There is a clear message with this film, and it does not even hit until the end of the film. For a film this short to manage to pack a cohesive story, give a good amount of character development in the two leading roles and expand the story way further than the few minutes it is told in is quite impressive, and yet Chelsea does this effortlessly here.
It is not only the narrative and message that this film gets into the short runtime, but also the technical aspects that are able to shine through. All of the cast give wonderful performances, whilst being slightly exaggerated but working for the tone and style of this film. These are characters that work well for the short runtime, as exaggerated performances help convey the message and tone of the film in a quick manner which is necessary for this film to work the way it does.
This is also a stunning film to watch. Focusing on the feature of Instagram and social media, it is vital that the film looks good to reflect the digital era we are living in at this moment. From the quick editing style to the gorgeous backdrops and use of filters to reflect the camera, the editing and cinematography by Kevin Walsh are both superb and work incredibly well for a film of this style.
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Chelsea Devantez did a fantastic job creating a fun little short film that ticks all of the boxes. It is extremely entertaining, covers a strong message for today’s audience and does so with a shocking reveal which only helps elevate the film. This is such a fun project and I cannot wait to see what else Chelsea does in the future.

Basic was uploaded onto the YouTube page Short of the Week. You can watch the entire film here: BASIC Short Film

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