Features Film

Short Film Watch #11

AS we gear up for a busy few months of festivals, Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge talks about three short films he has enjoyed this week.


Stronger

RAHUL Nath and Kshitij Salve’s short film Stronger immediately injects us into the throes of a violent struggle between a man and a woman. Fear-stricken eyes, panicked screams and claws of desperation. Over the next twenty minutes, Stronger takes us back through some of the events leading up to this struggle, giving insight into the lives of both attacker and victim to reveal what true inner-strength is.

Convincingly capturing the disturbed demeanour of a psychopathic sexual predator, Arjun Shrivastav delivers in quiet creepiness as a man who fantasises about violently attacking his partner (Sahana Vasudevan) only to go out and find other women to prey on. This is a man acting out against his own insecurities and weaknesses. His pent up frustration demonstrated through a twitching of his fingers and the accompanying sounds of horror-evoking violins. One grim encounter with a prostitute (Pragya Maheshwari) is enough to demonstrate the extremes of his warped attitude towards women.

On the other side of the story, we meet a young woman (Richa Meena) who is seeking to unshackle herself from the forces that make her ‘weak’. Played with an endearing and courageous defiance by Meena, the woman breaks away from the coddling comforts of her parents’ home to embark on a montage of independent activities.

Yet, as we have seen in the opening of the film, her blossoming strength will soon be unfairly put to the test against a force of unhinged male destruction.

With excellent performances and engulfing work by cinematographer Yuvraj Jadeja, Stronger is an impressive perspective on the predator-prey narrative by Nath and Salve.

Winter Cabin

DIRECTED by Michael Huntsman, Winter Cabin gives a snapshot of one couple’s relationship under the intense and distorting pressures of bio-chemical war. The dynamics of this well-acted tale are cleverly laid out in the tight space of ten minutes as we witness how Nolan (Bernard White) and Roxy (Yuching Tsai) are coping – or failing to copy – with the relentless hardships facing them.

Winter Cabin imagines love in an extreme scenario and in doing so opens up many interesting questions. Thoughtful work from Hunstman and Tsai (actor, writer and producer) that hopes to breed wide-ranging and meaningful conversation from a landscape of toxic desolation. Something we may need to do a lot more of in a potentially precarious future of nuclear weapons and ever-polarising politics.

Itsy

Step aside Itsy Bitsy Spider, there is a new adorable mini spider in town. One that Amy Mathieson and Premila Puri’s short film Itsy uses to underline the importance of kindness.

Alison (Ellie Rose Boswell) is a hurried businesswoman. Each morning she wakes up and rushes off to work, brushing rudely past her neighbours along the way. That is until this detached daily routine is finally broken by the appearance of a spider on her car side mirror. Further prompted by a conversation with a friendly parking attendant named Milan (Rez Kempton), Alison soon finds herself caring for the spider in a way that transforms inward approach to life and opens her eyes to the people around her.

Brilliantly carried off by Boswell’s highly engaging lead performance, this is a spiritually underpinned morality tale that shows acts of kindness – no matter how itsy-bitsy – can be powerful.

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