Another week has flown by, and it is time once again to highlight the shorts that I have watched. With Glasgow Film Festival in full force right now, I have a clear focus on what my short film watching time is dedicated to: the Oscars shortlist. The five shorts that I watched this week are all on the shortlist, and for the most part, I understand why they made the list.
Here are my reviews of the five short films I watched this week.
Director: Anthony Giacchino
Starring: Colette Marin-Catherine, Lucie Fouble
Synopsis: World War II. Not all warriors wore uniforms. Not all warriors were men. Meet ninety-year-old Colette Catherine who, as a young girl, fought the Nazis as a member of the French Resistance. Now she’s about to re-open old wounds, re-visting the terrors of that time. Some nightmares are too terrible to remember. But also, too dangerous to forget.
A really powerful and well-made documentary short, Colette is one of the strongest women in film this year. Not only does this documentary have clear direction, following the journey these two women take to go to the concentration camp and honour Colette’s late brother, but the information is powerful and is well presented. A worthy documentary for the Oscar shortlist.
Colette is available to watch on The Guardian.
Do Not Split
Director: Anders Hammer
Synopsis: The story of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, told through a series of demonstrations by local protestors that escalate into conflict when highly armed police appear on the scene.
This is a powerful short and a sharp reminder of the issues that Hong Kong still faces to this day. It is a subject matter that is incredibly important to document, and the raw filmmaking here captures the brutality in full force, making it hit how important these protests are to the citizens of Hong Kong. A longer short, but one that feels necessary and makes use of the time it has to tell this story.
Do Not Split is available to watch on Vimeo.
Director: Kate Novack
Synopsis: In 1900, Sigmund Freud began treating a 17-year old girl he called “Dora.” Her parents brought her to therapy after she accused a family friend of sexual assault. Freud’s account of his sessions with Dora was the only major case history he published of a female patient. Intercutting his published text with a scripted version told from Dora’s point of view, Hysterical Girl revisits this landmark case.
A fun take on the documentary format, telling a unique story and from a wonderful perspective. Focusing on the subject matter of Freud’s only female subject of his big five, there is already clear themes and motives from that description and the sharp ending hits that message on the head. I wish that the film perhaps went on a bit longer, as there is so much information and the jumpy nature of the presentation makes it hard to focus on it all, but overall a really strong short film.
Hysterical Girl is available to watch on The New York Times.
A Love Song for Latasha
Director: Sophia Nahli Allison
Starring: Brittany Hudson
Synopsis: A dreamlike conversation with the past and the present, reimagining of Latasha Harlins’ story by excavating intimate memories shared by those who loved her.
What a powerful short film. I had never heard of the story of Latasha before this documentary, but the interviewee gave the story so much power. It was clear how important the story was to her and what Latasha meant to her, which only made it more compelling. Whilst the visuals took a small amount of time to get used to at the beginning, they are so wonderfully done and add a lot to this story, whilst making sure to respect the subject matter. A must-watch for everyone, especially for only 19 minutes.
A Love Song for Latasha is available to watch on Netflix.
What Would Sophia Loren Do?
Director: Ross Kauffman
Starring: Nancy Kulik, Sophia Loren, Edoardo Ponti
Synopsis: Nancy Vincenza Kulik, an Italian-American grandmother from Fort Lee, New Jersey, has experienced many challenges and triumphs. But she always meets life’s journey with love, resilience and joy, inspired in part by another Italian grandmother, movie star Sophia Loren.
There is an interesting subject matter to this story, but I question if it needed to be as long as it is. I also wish there was more interview sequences with Sophia Loren, because that aspect of the documentary didn’t feel as important as it should. Whilst it isn’t bad, it certainly drags and left me desiring more from the presentation.
What Would Sophia Loren Do? is available to watch on Netflix.