Three Short Films: Circles (2014); Roma (2014); Skin (2014).

I’m back on my short film game y’all! Here are three shorts I watched recently via Dazed Digital. I’ve really been loving the short films section on Dazed because there’s always something interesting and new to watch and learn about. Today I watched one short film about a boy with a lot of thoughts, another about an ethnic population whose suffering has gone unnoticed for a very long time, and another about a gangster from New Zealand. You can watch these films too if you like, by following the links below.

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Circles (2014)
Sam Fleischner, 4 minutes

Circles can only be described as a character study of young actor Jesus Sanchez. The film consists of Sanchez’s improvised monologue about life, the universe and everything, combined with beautiful and dreamy images of Sanchez going about his day, visiting an aquarium, and being out in nature. We learn about Sanchez’s need to wash his hands, his appreciation of circles and sneakers alike, his nervousness about starting high school, and how he relates to fish inside the aquarium, among many more thoughts. This film is short and sweet, but you get the feeling that you’re just learning about the surface beliefs of a pretty complex kid with a lot of thoughts about life. Aesthetically speaking, director Sam Fleischner makes lots of music videos, so it does have that kind of feeling about it. It kind of looks like something Sofia Coppola crossed with Harmony Korine might make. Overall, I really liked this short film and wouldn’t have minded it to be longer so I could learn more about Jesus Sanchez and his thoughts on life.

3.5/5
Watch the short film here.

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Roma (2014)
Sam Davis, 11 minutes

A highly informative and incredibly sad short documentary film, Roma provides as much information as it can fit in within an eleven minute time period about the difficulties associated with living life as part of the Roma community in Albania; from the emotional struggles, to the economic issues and poverty, to the legal and governmental issues that they face. The picture painted here is one of desperation but also one where no one knows quite how or what to do to help. In the mean time, short films like this certainly serve to raise awareness about these people and the conditions they live in. This short film is honest and unflinching in its gaze on this one Roma camp in Albania, showing us both the lively and vibrant community that lives there, but also the hygiene problems and living conditions that can be quite confronting indeed. This is a very artfully shot documentary, with the use of both interviews with Roma and other key individuals who are involved with them, and beautiful slow motion shots of the Roma camp and the people within it. The final shot of this short film is stunning, and the juxtaposition of the difficulties being verbally expressed in combination with the simply gorgeous shotmaking ensures that this film makes a big statement.

4/5
Watch the short film here.

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Skin (2014)
Tom Gould, 8 minutes

My favourite documentary of the three, Skin focuses on one Martyka ‘Skin Dog’ Brandt, a member of the Mighty Mongrel Mob gang of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Skin tells us all about Martyka’s life, from his early hellraising years and eventual life in a mental institution at the age of 14, to his initial joining of the gang and social integration with Maoris that he previously never experienced as a Pakeha (New Zealander of European descent). The most beautiful part of this documentary, though, is when Martyka speaks of the transformative power of having children, raising them, and giving them a life that he never had himself. Even if you think you could never empathise with a gangster who’s taken part in a lot of shady activity, this film will show you that even though people may be different on the outside and in their behaviour, there are elements of the human experience that everyone can share. Skin is also incredibly visually beautiful. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, with slow motion, contemplative moments mixed in with home video footage. Definitely watch this one as not only is it an interesting life story, but also a compelling emotional journey.

4.5/5
Watch the short film here.

4 comments

  1. Thanks for the tip on Dazed. It’s always exciting to find new shorts like these.

    1. Dazed is so awesome. The video section of their website is filled with the most amazing stuff!

  2. Ooo ‘Skin’ sounds very interesting…

    1. You should definitely see it as a precursor to your exciting New Zealand adventures! 😀

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