I very nearly skipped this evening based on the veritable storm raging outside before the night was due to start. Nonetheless, I braved the torrential rain and arrived at the cinema with a striking resemblance to a drowned rat. Much as I love short films, I was not expecting to have an enjoyable evening – it is extremely difficult to enjoy yourself in sodden jeans. The Tyneside, however, never fails. I could, with ease and joy, spend the next 500 words praising the glorious institute that is the Tyneside; however, as this is the Film Section of The Courier, I’ll assume anyone reading this does not need to be converted.
We were directed to the Roxy Lounge, a screen with three rows of long velvet sofas (which I may well have ruined with two bum cheek shaped wet patches) and a small bar; the setting felt apt for a ‘short’ film night. The only problem with the long sofa set up was that I was forced to concede that stripping off might be mildly inappropriate.
“Much like short stories, short films must be well crafted and to the point”
It was an animation night, which I was greatly excited for being the proud owner of the Pixar Short Collection. Much like short stories, short films must be well crafted and to the point – it is very obvious if you try to bullshit on a small scale. The films on show were all highly digitised, which made me a little sad, being a sucker for ‘claymation’ or anything that looks originally drawn by hand. This I appreciate, however, is mere personal preference.
The most visually stunning work was a monologue about a homosexual Indian woman’s experience with her parents and as a mother. Her story was highly moving and you could focus on it without being too distracted by a visual overload. The animation was a series of recurring print-like motifs, the overall effect of which was greatly reminiscent of patterned Indian fabrics. This was aided by the bright colours used, predominantly warm reds and oranges, which was particularly effective when block black elephants strode across the screen. The audio and the visual worked together perfectly while refraining from merely illustrating one with the other.
“The most visually stunning work was a monologue about a homosexual Indian woman’s experience with her parents and as a mother”
Another particular favourite was a story about a young zombie. When the family morgue is destroyed, he must set out alone, seeking comfort and the ice cream parlour once owned by his parents. Along the way he is spurned by people and scarecrows (a particularly emotional and amusing moment) alike. Other particularly witty moments occur when he reaches the ice cream parlour where one man plays a video game in which he kills zombies. When the young undead is eventually embraced, the smear of blood he leaves on his new mother’s trousers is an excellent detail.
Continuing the theme of death was a particularly short ‘short’ in which a magician successfully contacts the afterlife and is asked to hold. This highly affective satire was a wonderful illustration of the daily frustrations of modern life.
I am told the short film nights are an ongoing event, and I will certainly return (possibly with an umbrella) – prepared to be amazed by the experience when not undergone in soaked denim.