Three Short Films: Nothing To Something (2012); Foureyes (2014); The Return (1980).

Here are three quick paragraph reviews of three short films I have watched recently. Interestingly, I discovered all of these short films via WordPress. Foureyes (2014) and The Return (1980) were found via posts in my reader (thank you Cinema Axis and Biblioklept!), and Nothing To Something (2012) was sent to me via my contact page. Today I will be writing about the three Ps: photography, puberty, and psychedelia.

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Nothing To Something (2012)
Michael Artiles, 12 minutes

Nothing To Something is an interesting short film focusing on Keith Major, a highly successful fashion photographer from New York City. It chronicles a moment in time in his busy life, shooting photos of models for commercial purposes and confronting the difficulties of the industry as the camera watches. Although this film does not necessarily have a straightforward narrative, what it does do well is capture a moment in time, and explore the development of Major’s love of photography that led him to this point. He makes the point that you have to have passion, a supreme amount of dedication, and put in lots of hard work in order to reach your dreams. I wasn’t a fan of the use of music in this but the shotmaking and overall message was great. There’s also a very intriguing use of mirrors where there would normally be a talking-head style documentary format. If you enjoyed Bill Cunningham New York (2010), I would hazard a guess that you would like this as well.

3.5/5
Watch the short film here.

foureyes

Foureyes (2014)
Conor Byrne, 12 minutes

Confronting the awkwardness of puberty, and undoubtedly a giant homage to Wes Anderson, Foureyes is probably the most charming short film I’ve seen in a while. After an incident with a baseball, Bobby Bowersox is prescribed some unwanted thick-rimmed glasses and is simultaneously transported to the mystical world of male pre-adolescent puberty, and all the complexities that go with it. Bobby is played by Jake Ryan, who we recently saw in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and he is so perfect in this role. Not only is Bobby changing physically during puberty, but his eyes are playing up as well, and Ryan expresses his frustration through hilarious facial expressions and physical attitude. I thought the performance of the mother in this film was frighteningly cheesy and off-putting in contrast to literally everything else in it, which is all consistently and congruently kitschy and charming without resorting to melodrama. The film has a rich and vibrant colour palette which harks back to a wholesome family atmosphere of the 50s, yet the information that the colour palette communicates isn’t necessarily wholesome! Definitely a highly recommended watch.

4.5/5
Watch the short film here.

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The Return (1980)
Vladimir Tarassov, 10 minutes

This is a spacey Russian-language animated short that seems to be a mix of Prometheus (2012) and End of Evangelion (1997). Confession: I watched this without subtitles, and I can’t understand any Russian. So I don’t know anything about its story, or whether it had a story at all. But this ten minutes is filled with some of the most interesting animation you’ll see this side of the avant garde animated shorts of the 1920s. It seems to weave its way through many different styles, plus some live action footage of a city, in such a way that is completely compelling even without a context. I wish I could understand what the characters were saying, but at the same time, maybe it’s one of those surreal shorts where you have to make up your own story anyway. It seems to be about worldwide conflict and a nuclear holocaust, but I could be wrong. I would actually recommend this if you have an interest in animated films, even though I have no idea what it’s really about. Strange times.

4/5
Watch the short film here.

6 comments

  1. Good stuff Anna, I have definitely bookmarked Foureyes, as soon as I saw a mention of a “giant homage to Wes Anderson,” I knew i had to! Plan to watch that tmrw first thing. The others sound interesting as well. Nice “experimental” viewing session with The Return. 🙂

    1. Thanks Tom! Definitely check out Foureyes, it’s so great I watched it twice. I’m hoping that a version of The Return pops up on the internet somewhere with subtitles one day, to see if I was totally off the mark on what I thought the story was about!

  2. Saw Four Eyes and I have to agree, there’s a lot of Wes Anderson influence in there. I liked it as well 🙂

    1. I’m glad you liked it! I still can’t get past the amazing use of colour.

  3. You caught my attention with Four Eyes! Another Wes Anderson! Count me in! That is a great guy to look up to and grab ideas from. Jake Ryan is going to be a star one day! The kid has scored some great acting chops from…somewhere. It really came out of the blue. Who the hell is Jake Ryan? Some random kid who is awesome in every movie that he appears in!

    1. Haha, totally agreed! Where did this kid’s hilarious acting talent come from? The faces he makes are so funny. Definitely looking forward to seeing more of his work!

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