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  • Brandon MacMurray

Tribeca Review Roundup Part 2




We are so sad Tribeca is over as it was genuinely one of our favourite festivals we have attended since starting this site. Congrats to the programming team on an incredible fest. Here are 5 more reviews of shorts we loved. Stay tuned on Wednesday where we highlight even more!


Jane Austen's Period Drama, dirs. Julia Aks, Steve Pinder



Period. 

No, not the punctuation mark. Nope, not an era in time. We are talking menstruation. 

If you’re reading this and immediately grossed out by that word or turned off from reading further, maybe this is the short for you!


Co-written and co-directed by Julia Aks and Steve Pinder, the duo creatively tackle the topic of periods in a light and comical way. Set in 1813 England, Jane Austen’s Period Drama is a punny delight all the way from the clever title (and poster) down to each of the characters’ names. 


Talking about periods has been taboo for a long time in modern society, not just in the 1800s. In fact, even in 2024, many take issue with even broaching the topic, especially in conservative circles. You don’t have to look any further than the reaction to the 2022 Pixar movie Turning Red. Menstruation didn’t even have to be mentioned explicitly for the film’s metaphor to send some parents into a tailspin. That lack of education has led us to where we are today. Menstruation is still often seen as a “shameful topic,” and many grown men still have no clue what the process is even about. 


This is much like the character of Mr. Dickley in this short, who despite having an “expensive education,” has no clue what a period is. He ends up mistaking the leading lady, (played by director/writer Julia Aks herself) Estrogenia’s, period as an injury. Hilarity and chaos ensue as he rushes to her aid. The viewer is introduced to Estrogenia’s family one by one. It’s clear that though they may have her best interest in mind, they do not have the best advice. Estrogenia ultimately listens to her heart and through all the laughs we are left with a sweet ending: one that can’t help but make you feel that that maybe if the world were a little bit more willing to learn like Mr. Dickley, the topic of menstruation wouldn’t be so taboo.  


Review by: Brandon MacMurray



Original Skin, dir. Mdhamiri á Nkemi

 


Original Skin envelops us in sensually detailed a world where having sex means swapping bodies with the other person. Director Mdhamiri á Nkemi creates a profound picture of dating, romance, and sex in a world—both the real and the fictional—where these these types of intimacy are rarely seen. Starring as Bea and Lexi, Olive Gray and Sorcha Groundsell are totally committed to baring their souls, and their bodies, as two women who meet, dance, have sex, and wake up in each other’s bodies. Even while the sounds of a world outside the bedroom seem far and muffled, the sense of touch between these characters is close; detailed shots of skin and body parts bring us in closer to the characters sensory realm.

 

Original Skin, like the sex that the characters have, is all about the pleasure of feeling overwhelming sensations. Nkemi and cinematographer Adam Singodia create a series of immaculate textures that resonate in the audiences’ eyes almost as much as in the characters’ bodies. A nighttime drive through neon-lit streets glitters with the blurred bokeh of swirling streetlamps; a sequined jacket worn in a strobe-lit club sparkles and scatters light like a disco ball; a long exposure of slow-motion dancing becomes a blur of nightlife pleasures. The intimately shot sex scene is a wash of steaming hot reds and oranges as the picture wobbles in and out of focus in a hedonistic rush. These moments are disorienting and psychedelic, the way it feels, sometimes, being in your own body, or in someone else’s.

 


When their private sex has very publicly discernable consequences, the contemptuous glares and cold shoulders that Bea and Lexi get in their Handmaid’s Tale-esque routine of daily life tell us that “swapping bodies” between two women is considered taboo. The themes of the film, women having sex with women, or feeling out of place in one’s own skin, offer explicitly LGBTQ+ viewpoints, and will be read in different ways by anyone struggling with identity, or feeling like someone else in their body. Like its characters swapping bodies, Original Skin offers an opportunity to evolve into a new version of ourselves.


Review by: Joshua Hunt


Camping in Paradise, dir Eirik Tveiten



Christian and Pernille (played by Espen Alknes and Oddrun Valestrand respectively) are a couple on their way to a romantic weekend getaway at a spa. In an attempt to spice things up Pernille starts to intimately touch Chistian who quickly loses control of the car and slides off the road onto a nearby field. Passing by and seeing the accident is a stranger named Viggo (played by Stig Henrik Hoff) who stops to make sure the couple is alright. Viggo also happens to be a mechanic and offers to help repair the damage caused to the car, so they follow him to the camping site where he and his wife Jenny (played by Mona Grenne) are spending their summer holiday.


Unbeknownst to the couple the campsite also happens to be of the nudist kind, and so are Viggo and Jenny. Being forced to spend the night there while their car is being tended to, past issues and feelings begin to bubble up to the surface - and things quickly escalate when Viggo invites them over for dinner and activities, all in the nude naturally.



Taking its rightful place in the ‘Get Comfortable’ shorts program at The Tribeca Film Festival, Camping in Paradise offers lots of awkward and light hearted laughter up front, something often quite welcome amongst tougher subjects and watches of any festival. However once you start to peel back the layers it reveals a story of a relationship that has hit a fork in the road.On one side we have Christian who is comfortable with the status quo but afraid to venture out, who do not feel comfortable with any level of public nudity or displays of affection. On his side we find Pernille who greets the situation with open arms, embracing the challenge and excitement. The language of the film is simple and straightforward, bordering on slapstick humor at times. Meanwhile and equally important we see the language of the looks that Christian and Pernille give each other, looks of longing and eagerness, looks of despair and nervousness, all the way to looks of panic and anger. It is amazing to see how body language can elevate a film and give it much more nuance, making a situation which at first glance look bizarre feel relatable.


Whether you are in it for the comic relief or for the relationship drama, I highly suggest you seek out Camping in Paradise and give it a watch, if nothing else then simply to laugh along with the absurdity of it all.


Review by: Robin Hellgren


Passarinho, dir. Natalia García Agraz



Football is a passion so strong in Latin America, it fits the stereotype. We are thoroughly obsessed with the sport. It is something that runs inside our blood. Not everyone supports it or is a fan. But every four years, people will come together to cheer for their national team in the World Cup. Based on this powerful cultural bond, Natalia García Agraz’s Passarinho narrates the story of two best friends madly in love with football. Before their idol’s last game, the incredible goalkeeper Passarinho, they go through a series of unfortunate events that will test their passion for the game.


It’s worth noting how Natalia handles the characters, who are in a critical stage of development (with one of them going through her first period). There is a whole subtext of the awakening during a match, which most parents consider a timely hobby that will soon fade away. However, many people may lower their passion for the sport, but the memories and moments stay. This is the emotional core of the film. It focuses on the building of love for the game between a mother and her child.



The mom is having a terrible day: her work is in shambles. She crashes the car on the way to the match, and her communication with her child is not ideal. Natalia concentrates the narrative on the beauty of life and the reconciliation found in relationships. It’s beautiful to watch the mother-daughter relationship unfold. The moms love for the sport starts to build as she starts to vibe with the stadium atmosphere. The cosmic climate of celebrating a goal,  communal drinking, and sharing ninety minutes of pure madness. It summarizes the Latino experience with the sport and the heat it causes on Mexicans, Brazilians, Colombians, and Argentinians. What is better than gathering with friends to watch Brazil play in the World Cup?


Before the credits roll, Natalia dedicates the film to her mom and Messi. It perfectly fits a film that homages family and the idols that make children fall in love with the sport. Messi, Vini Jr., Luis Díaz, and other idols ignite a fire inside those who love the sport, bringing together pre-teen girls and troubled moms around a football spectacle.


Review by: Pedro Lima


I Want to Violently Crash into the Windshield of Love, dir. Fernanda Tovar



In his MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) class, CMS. S60: Rap Theory and Practice, the Grammy winning American rapper Lupe Fiasco describes surprise as a fundamental aspect of rap with punchlines containing the aha moment - the revelation. The construction of the surprise is one of the quintessential points of rap. It is what makes the listener stay hooked.


Instead, Fernanda Tovar goes the opposite way in I Want to Violently Crash into the Windshield of Love. She shows what is behind the construction of rhymes from a younger Mexican rapper, La Güera. Fernanda takes us for a ride behind the wheel of the artists and their punchlines and freestyles. 



One crucial aspect of the film is how the city acts as a character. The leads are the young artist La Güera and Mexico City. Effectively, the directing thrives to show a growing person among the enormity of being raised in one of the world’s biggest cities. México’s capital has over 22 million residents and ranks as the seventh-largest city in the world by population. As the metropolis has this magnitude, the political leadership forgets thousands of marginalized groups and grows in the dark. 


La Güera finds in her strength she needs to stay strong in music. It is a healing process while she discovers herself as someone who is queer. Rap is the tool for finding who she is. It’s a poetic and self-reflective film and takes the observational format seriously. The camera is a curious eye looking at all it can absorb. It is a splendid reminder of how small we can feel inside these enormous concrete jails, but art can make us feel protected. 


Fernanda Tovar delivers an experience of reflection and patience. It takes time to contemplate the power of art slowly and how it can help us find our true selves.


Review by: Pedro Lima

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ShortStick

The short end of the stick: The inferior part, the worse side of an unequal deal

When it comes to cinema and the Oscars it always feels like short films and getting the short end of the stick. Lack of coverage, lack of predictions from experts and an afterthought in the conversation. With this site we hope to change that, highlighting shorts that stick with you, predictions, and news on what is happening in the world of shorts. 

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