Two bacon butterburgers for the price of one, bulldozing both into a single time slot. In those cardboard boxes and already cooling to the touch. Stack them nigh high to make full use of the box height. We're paying for calories here, and we'll get them in before the sluice is loose.
Turn the door and the entryway is bare of people, the count on one hand milling about the gaping maw of the door into the theatre room. A lone user handing out programmes and the darkness of rain rolls in with the rest of the audience. The feel is communal, relaxing into a tone of watching movies on an afternoon in the thunderstorm. But early evening has it and into the fracture of short attentions.
1-0 (Saman Hosseinpuor. Iran.) leads off with the end telegraphing well before the first buzz. It's wordless save for the announcer and the end shot is partial. It doesn't look like a full cutaway, barely trimming the surface of the game at hand. Flashbacks into sitting in the chair with tufts of other people's hair coating the lino flooring and staring into that jar of blue liquid with combs and sorts. Been a while.
Candid moments of The Background Man (Jonay Garcia - Jose Medina. Spain.) is what's on point. Looking back through your camera chimping at the blurry ones, the ones shooting off to the side. That sense of being there but not being there. A life lived and a reminder that that whole thing about being here is that someone else is there, bit players the lot of us. It speaks directly to a moment of time shared through a haze of recall.
My Girlfriend (Dejan Mraovic. Oklahoma, United States) is the mouthwash you get that looks alright from afar but leaves you in a depressing state as you sit there covered in the dribble after choking back liquid from going into your lungs. You wait for the punchline and then realise no, your breath is going to stink and that's the reality of it.
Then we meet Hannah & Otto (Chris Volckmann - Produced Productions. Seattle/Spain.) and remember those days of walking around ripping off phone numbers from poles. You stand there as you try and origami something out of it only to realise that you needed the other end, not the nubs and but forget it. All those people staring at you while you make a mess is the reason these hipster places make you feel uncomfortable.
The host steps back up to try a few more jokes, reeling them in and allowing for the flow, to kick in a pause between each chunk of the night. Without which the shorts all wave into each other void of the necessary time to appreciate what essence is left when you distill a snapshot.
Little Jacque (Andrew Oldbury. United Kingdom.) starts up and drifts off, watching as much as you do the person ahead of you in the toilets washing their hands but before you see them lather they're hitting the dryer button to spit all the residue around and there you are left trying to remember when it started, when it ended but here are the credits already?
Into Great Circles (Joon Sun - Department of Art, Western Kentucky University. Kentucky, United States.) brings things back into a mode of waiting for something to start, the promise is that the music that's generated is tugging at one of your veins, yanking out a resonance that makes the night sky open up and your head nod off a bit in a lull, sweet into the pillow and then jostling around to note the notes either connect, or leave you wanting.
Stark black & white in the land of Don Miguel (Kimuak - Txema Muñoz. Spain.) being of a tale of contracts and making sure that the people you lend out money to aren't going to default but of course they will that money is never coming back. Sharp, cool, a cautionary tale for those with people in our lives looking to make good on your word before they'll make good on theirs.
Perspective creepiness is all the window dressing in Choreographer (Mikhail Romanovsky. Russia.) with a the whole scene jumping into a point of history that doesn't extend time, but does question the stride of previous nights.
Breakfast and Banks (Evan Magruder. Kentucky, United States.) cracks an egg on the side and breaks a short discussion into the plan, the follow-through, the actual course of the meal. The sound and the video, they make for an interesting conversation into what's actually going on like crossing wires and finding yourself thirty minutes into a divergent thread based on missing one syllable.
A door creaks open and slams shut. Shoes and a backpack sidle across, left to right. A minute passes. The backpack and shoes cross right to left. The door creaks and shuts again.
Blackboard (Zero Degree Arts - Hyash Tanmoy. India.) is a documentary dropped into the fray, a glimpse into the wallas and a taught tale on self-improvement, getting ahead of your surroundings and making the most of what's left in the back alley. The scratch in cutaways makes it all over the place, hard to come together.
The Dive (Jordane Oudin / Hippocampe Productions - Delphine Le Courtois. France.) is that awkward phase growing up as you stand in the middle of everyone and wait it out, hoping to both let them see you and not see you at all. That point in life where disappearing is how you cope with the unknowing of tomorrow, or even the afternoon. Slow as it is.
The Fly (Marco Di Gerlando. Italy.) takes the concept of time and realises upon your seat how much longer it can all seem. The struggle, the fury, the copper coins tinkling as you wait for it to end. Clearly a parallel between sitting in class watching the clock and feeling the breath of the next short not close enough.
The Compassion Clock (Somerset Community College Digital Video Productions. Kentucky, United States.) rounds out the night to remind us that we've heard enough about Becky. That the toilet blocks outside look just like they do in the video which really is more a stage production captured on film than a short film. It starts, doesn't go anywhere, but here we are. It wants for tension and a driving reason to come back to the next scene.
And then the rumble starts, a wafting comes over as the boxes left behind want for a dive into the nearest bin. Free DVDs left on the table, the summing up is brief, economical. That's a night of interest. Nevermind the subtitles, almost all work with audio off.
Dodging the rain into the Stoner Little Theatre on Somerset Community College Theatre at the Friday, 11 September 2015 half.
Reviewed on Sunday, 11 October 2015