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The short films continue to come through at the London Film Festival, as I made my way through the We Built a World collection of films. Even if not all of these short films worked for me, I love looking at films from across the world and how they approach filmmaking. From a narrative standpoint, it is clear that films feel more raw and honest about their culture and country than the polished British and America films do. I may give some of these films a low score, but I still appreciate the filmmakers who told their stories.
IMDB Link: #FollowMe (2020)
Director: Anna Bruun Nørager
Synopsis: Meet women in or from Iraq using social media to challenge norms and traditions in their country.
I was not familiar about the current climate in Iraq, so this was an eye-opener of a short-film. I loved the visuals that complimented the stories, particularly the images on Instagram. However, I do feel like this is a short film that was prevented from reaching its full potential due to COVID-19, as I am not sure how I felt about the video-calling being highlighted and used in this format. However, I am now interested in learning more about the subject and I would have loved for this short to perhaps even be a feature-length documentary at some point.
IMDB Link: Lizard (2020)
Director: Akinola Davies
Writers: Akinola Davies, Wale Davies
Stars: Naomi Akalanze, Lala Akindoju, Pamilerin Ayodeji
Synopsis: An 8-year-old girl with an ability to sense danger gets ejected from Sunday school service. She unwittingly witnesses the underbelly in and around a Mega Church in Lagos.
There are scenes here that are so well done. I particularly was engaged with the start, when the young girl is taken out of the class. I also loved the cinematography and the visual style that this film takes. There are moments that don’t work narratively and I wish the story was tighter. However, I appreciate how bold the story was and I would also recommend checking this one out.
IMDB Link: Loose Fish (2020)
Directors: Francisco Canton, Pato Martinez
Synopsis: A group of boys spend their days seeking work daily in a Moroccan fishing port. Concerned about their future, they decide to save enough money to escape.
This is a fly-on-the-wall style of filmmaking, which helps make the situation feel real and raw. This came out from the gorgeous cinematography, placing us in the scene. Sadly though, I found myself struggling to connect with the story and care about the characters. It left me with little impact, and I just felt distant from the situation and unable to relate to them. I admire the filmmakers for the style they approached though, and I would be interested to see what other stories they have to tell.
A Horse Has More Blood Than A Human
IMDB Link: A Horse Has More Blood Than A Human (2020)
Director: Abolfazi Talooni
Synopsis: An older couple leave Tehran and return to their idyllic home town on the Turkish border, but their dreams of quiet retirement are shattered by the realisation that their town has become a smuggling gateway into Europe.
Aside from being the most interesting title for a film I have seen this year, the subject matter itself is really fascinating. Despite being scripted, this may just be one of the films that tackles real-life issues well. I know a little bit about the struggles in Turkey, but not to this extent. This is honestly a story I could have had a feature-length film of, as it felt like there was so much story to tell here in such a small amount of time, and it did come off as rushed. I would, however, still recommending you check this one out.
Dafa Metti (Difficult)
IMDB Link: Dafa Metti (Difficult) (2020)
Director: Tal Amiran
Writer: Tal Amiran
Synopsis: Under Paris’ glittering Eiffel Tower, illegal Senegalese migrants sell miniature souvenirs of the monument, to support their families back home. Far from their loved ones and hounded by the police, each day is a struggle through darkness in the City of Lights.
What a hauntingly beautiful short film, and easily my favourite from this collection. The narration is simple and to the point, yet that is what makes the impact. The visuals are stunning, from the opening shot of the darkness in the tube tunnel to the lights on the Eiffel Tower, even though this film makes it clear that the lights don’t make the city bright and safe for him. Well presented, I left wanting to know more of his story and how he is doing now. Definitely make sure to seek this one out.
Have you had a chance to check out any of these short films yet? Are you planning on watching them at the London Film Festival? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.