I sadly ended up being disappointed in this third collection of shorts at Sundance 2021. I will not be reviewing the short film Lizard as I have already covered it at the London Film Festival, but I ended up only liking three of the seven shorts that I will be talking about today. Still, there will be something in this collection for everyone, and just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean you won’t.
Here are my thoughts on the shorts in the Shorts 3 collection.
Directors: Sam Guest, Julia Baylis
Writers: Sam Guest, Julia Baylis
Starring: Deanna Gibson, Sam Stillman, Vilma Donovan
Synopsis: Determined to save her wheelchair ramp from repossession, Daisy confronts the shady insurance agent who owes her money.
I ended up really enjoying this short film. The setting is perfectly realised, having fun with the idea of going to an insurance company and just being disappointed. Our lead character is easy to connect with and to relate to, and the final moments are just so wonderfully done.
The Longest Dream I Remember
Director: Carlos Lenin
Writer: Carlos Lenin
Starring: Paloma Petra, Morena González, Andúl Zambrano
Synopsis: As Tania leaves her hometown, she must confront what her absence will mean in the search for her disappeared father.
This is a short film that looks stunning and has some big ideas, however is unable to place all the pieces together. It became hard to understand what was going on and to attempt to be invested in the story. It is overly long, loses direction extremely quickly, and is never able to rein it back in.
Ava from My Class
Director: Kang You-min
Writer: Kang You-min
Starring: Bae Bonalle, Rowan Cooper, Matilda Fleming
Synopsis: 10-year-old Anna attends an after-school theater class. Anna, who looks particularly shy among confident children, is better off at watching acting than acting. Anna is so into her classmate Ava’s acting now. The delicate gaze captures the dramatic faces of the child’s acting.
This is a short and sweet film that perfectly captures childhood curiousity. I adore Anna so much and it’s incredibly rewarding to see what she does at the end of this short. Well presented and is one that is easy to get sucked into.
Excuse Me Miss, Miss, Miss
Director: Sonny Calvento
Writer: Arden Rod Convez
Starring: Mailes Kanapi, Phyllis Grande, Bob Jbeili
Synopsis: A salesgirl unearths the ultimate secret to regularization.
I unfortunately found myself disappointed with this short. It has a specific style and humour to it that there will be a crowd for this short, but it just didn’t land for me. The production design is great and the performances hold up, it just lacked in the writing and tone.
Director: Mitch McGlocklin
Writer: Mitch McGlocklin
Starring: Mitch McGlocklin, Jeanette Bonds
Synopsis: AI judgement causes a period of introspection.
There are some interesting ideas and concepts with this short film, from the visuals to the message itself. However, the whole thing feels empty and disjointed. It becomes hard to connect to the story with this narration choice and sadly becomes disengaging by the end of it all.
Director: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall
Writers: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, Komi Olaf
Starring: Komi Olaf, Donisha Rita Claire Prendergast
Synopsis: An account of what it means to be Black in 2020.
As someone who loves spoken poetry, this is exactly the sort of thing that I love to see. Passion behind the words, visuals that support the message. Simple, short and incredibly moving. One of the best shorts at Sundance 2021.
We’re Not Animals
Director: Noé Debré
Writer: Noé Debré
Starring: Vincent Macaigne, Thomas Blumenthal, Manon Kneusé
Synopsis: His ex Marie became an Instagram star (thanks to an activist group focused on the female orgasm). Depressed, Igor believes this is a deliberate campaign to prevent him from finding someone else.
There was very little that I could actually say that I liked about this short. The performances are good, but they are given a script that does nothing for their character of the story. The themes are handled poorly, I couldn’t tell if this was meant to be taken seriously or not and I was uninterested in the story.