For her description-defying Dimensions
, Atoosa Pour Hosseini
utilizes various techniques from multi-layer projections to interposing objects, reducing the size of an image to the mid-section rectangle, similarly to Rouzbeh Rashidi's Indwell Extinction of Hawks in Remoteness
. Urban winterscapes with swans and people are intertwined with geometric, azure forms of indefinable origin and complemented by the loud white noise which simultaneously propels our fascination and further deepens our confusion.
Still shot from Flooded Meadow (2007)
Hosseini's aforementioned compatriot Rashidi
casts Yihan Zhu as the chatty, yet silenced protagonist of Flooded Meadow
which precedes the intermissions from Closure of Catharsis
. Intermittently voyeuristic and direct, even intimate, this enigmatic B&W portrait of a smoky night in the city could be labeled as the calm before the storm which renders everyday life as supermundane. The viewer is put in a position of a stranger who doesn't speak the language of the characters, so is forced to observe their gestures in order to understand them.
The (ostensibly) most narrative film of the bunch is Clavadetscher's Goldfish
in which saturated colors signify the transition between the reality and spirituality embodied in titular animals. (This is just a free interpretation.) A young guy's (Simon Rokyta) bath is interrupted by the arrival of his friend (Michael Fingerhut) who brings the news of someone's death. Afterwards, "the bather" becomes obsessed with his pets in a bowl, eventually succumbing to their influence and maybe that
is not a bad thing, after all.
Reminiscent of Péter Lichter's
hand-scratched works, Hot-el-
by the filmmaker, photographer and installation artist Michael Higgins
operates as an intermission, given its very brief running time, providing heavily damaged footage of the pastoral kind in rusty sepia tones.
A reflection of time's transience, John Puts a Chair Away
is Le Cain's third entry in this article and its title couldn't be more illustrative. Beside the scenes with John (Doe?) putting a chair away inside of an abandoned building (warehouse?), we get the glimpses of a tree, metal door and empty, ramshackle rooms (some with blue details, of course) in a cinematic equivalent of Kazimir Malevich's art.
Still shot from Love Me Longer (2010)
Love Me Longer
is a (pseudo?) biopic of a former boy band singer, Neil Thompson, assuredly directed by Higgins and beautifully visualized by Luca Rocchini. Akin to a twisted recurring dream, it is comparable to some of Olivier Smolders's Exercices spirituels
and Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue
, wherein "psychologization" is replaced by wild experimentation. The assorted imagery and Neil's naturally flowing voice-over narration are juxtaposed in a cathartic cacophony of memories.
, Higgins gives us the pieces of a puzzle about "an unlawful killing of a human by another human with malice aforethought", as the opening epigraph informs us. The aftermath of a (deconstructed) crime is a corpse covered in dry leaves, with sea panorama as the only clue or red herring. On the rocks, a lonely figure meditates, eventually leaving the place. Blurry flashbacks reveal the perpetrator, but we don't know anything about him, his motives and his connection to the victim. The mystery is amplified by a periscope-like view of branches gradually transforming into the bouncy Moon.
Rashidi's delightful, sepia-toned Nightfall
deals with the absurdities and banalities of life, showing young man (played by Clavadetscher) arriving home, contemplating, cooking, eating, smoking, reading and watching an antique photo of a woman starring back at us. There is something off/odd about the whole proceedings and the protagonist's following morning doesn't make things any clearer. When his sister or girlfriend or a total stranger (Atoosa Pour Hosseini) comes to his house, they exchange a few glances and hug, raising new questions. For some reason, Nightfall
reminded me of the scene with Grace Zabriskie and Laura Dern from Inland Empire
(minus the eeriness).
An insight into Rashidi's early career, Shabby Nights
blends "un photo-roman" with poetic documentary in what appears to be a melancholy-fueled ode to Tehran (and its lights). Although not translated from Farsi (?), one can sense the sorrowful note in both of the narrators' voices. Old photographs have prominent role in nostalgia awakening.
Still shot from The Mongolian Barbecue (2009)
With his arcane phantasmagoria The Mongolian Barbecue
, Max Le Cain searches for the mystical qualities of female beauty. Shrouded in blue, pixels, glitches and TV static, his posing "heroines" produce some weird eye-candy. Speaking of eyes, one is stuck in the mouth, the other in... ahem, private parts.
And lastly, Kavanagh's Three Over Four
betrays its low budget, offering some attractive shots nevertheless, and sees Rashidi as an actor in yet another musing on ephemera that life is. Personally, I don't find it an accidental choice, considering the inclusion of my favorite vegetable (tomato) in the finale.
As already suggested, these short films are just a small part of the EFS library, so the exploration doesn't end here...