That is possibly the most innocuous synopsis of one of the weirdest and most emotionally stirring films that I’ve seen in recent times. Interesting Ball (2014, dir. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, also known as ‘DANIELS’), is one of those short films where you constantly find yourself in a state of wanting to laugh, yet also wanting to cry a little bit. It is weird, abstract, almost intentionally absurd, but at the same time it makes so much sense; and you don’t even have to be on psychedelic drugs to make sense of it.
Starring a cast of seeming unknowns, but also starring the two directors in one of the most bromance-y moments I’ve seen on film, the film is impressively acted in the face of a very strange script indeed. The good news is, everyone seems to treat the concept seriously, which means that we the viewers are more easily immersed in the dramas as they unfold. And I mean plural dramas, because they are numerous – lost love, enmeshed friendship, grief, rejection, infidelity, the list goes on.
At times it seems stupid, almost intentionally bizarre. But I couldn’t take my eyes away from it. The film is dripping with the muted hues and dappled lighting of some sunny film festival, and features some freaky CG effects that are rendered beautifully and only pop out from the background because of how absurd the whole circus of the film feels. The whole thing is accompanied by music that feels like it’s meant to cause some kind of existential wonderment, almost making fun of what’s presented on screen. As a whole, Interesting Ball is a mish-mash of visual and auditory beauty as it collides with the film’s strange and at times confronting concept.
The two directors named Daniel are also responsible for the recent Swiss Army Man (2016), which stars Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe and has garnered a reputation for being super strange but also surprisingly emotionally evocative. It seems like this is the modus operandi of the Daniels – to present us viewers with something that blows our tiny minds, but also evoke intense feelings that catch us by surprise. I, for one, highly enjoy this combination. If you have a spare 13 minutes to watch Interesting Ball, I couldn’t recommend it more. Interesting Ball is very interesting indeed.
Watch this short film here.