Sunday, October 23, 2022

London Film Festival Shorts for Free 2022

 Once again this year I was not able to attend LFF but I did catch their Shorts for Free that were available online, with today being the last day to view.

It was quite a variable selection in terms of theme and quality. I was surprised to learn Dropout (writer/ dir Ade Femzo) won the audience award for best film, as I found it pleasant but unremarkable, a boy hiding the news of his music career taking off from his mum who wants him to stay in uni. John Boyega had some behind the scenes involvement, so perhaps that connection gave the film a publicity boost. 

The Chinese film I Have No Legs, and I Must Run won the festival's best short award, which is more understandable. It is an unsettling, atmospheric watch steepd in homoeroticism , as two runners compete for a place on the team, forcing each other to greater and greater effort until one of them breaks down. Director Yue Li makes references to pigs in a cage as his two leads work under the beady eye of a demanding coach. 

The other standout for me was Transparent, dancer Siobhan Davies' autobiographical reflection on her motivations and themes, beautifully shot and imaginatively rendered. I also recognised some of the East London locations. 

Several of the films I found annoyingly pretentious, but there were a couple other queer ones I want to mention. An Avocado Pit (dir Ary Zarabrings together a sex worker and potential client for a roam around Lisbon. Very talky but prettily shot. 

Checoslovaquia (dir Dennis Perinango), a Peruvian film, feels like the start of a longer work, as a mechanic-cum-taxi driver becomes entwined in the lives of the queer folk he spies on playing volleyball at the local river (as you do). His struggles with his own toxic masculinity play out over the course of the film and the title has something to do with a sport he watched as a youngster but this was not well rendered in the translated subtitles so I was left confused. The ending, too, feels rushed but it feels like the core of an excellent longer film is there. 

No comments: