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Archive for the ‘Short Film’ topic

Short film: Tanghi Argentini

Scene from Tanghi Argentini

Once in a while, something worthwhile can be seen on television. Yesterday, Canvas not only aired the quirky love story “Steve + Sky“, but  also several pretty good short films. In my opinion, it’s something they should do more often.  Even though shorts are perfect for the internet, they are not always easy to track down.

Passion

One short I did manage to find on the net was actually the Oscar nominated “Tanghi Argentini” (subtitles). It is not the first tango short film I’ve mentioned here, but I guess it’s a subject that lends itself well to telling short passionate stories.

In Tanghi Argentini, an office clerk, after having landed himself a date with a woman he met on the internet,  finds he has only two weeks to learn the tango if he want to make an impression on her. Having never danced before, he enlists the help of one of his colleagues to help him learn the dance of passion. The big question is: will he be able to convince his date he has been a Tango dancer all his life? As with all good shorts, it ends with a twist. So watch it here.

Learning the Tango

While two weeks is indeed very short to master this dance, this is in many ways how it was taught 19th century.  Only, it usually took a bit longer than just two fortnights. Before a young boy could actually step on the dance floor and impress the ladies, he would first have to find a more experienced male dancer to teach him. First he would have to watch and observe the more skilled dancers, than learn how to follow (the woman’s part), and only when he got that down could he be taught to lead. Once he got all that down, a process that could take up to three years, would he now be able to dance with an actual real woman.

screenshot from the altruists

You can choose your friends.

Of one of the other shorts shown yesterday, “De Onbaatzuchtigen” (The Altruists / no subtitles), I was only able to find a fragment. You might have heard of the phrase: “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”. Well, in this short film, you can. As a matter of fact, every member of the family can be sold or bought as long as the rest of the family agrees. Though never explicitly mentioned, in this society, prestige and wealth is exhibited by the size of a family unit and the qualities of each member. Showing off to the other families is done by the daily walks on the street with the entire family together.

A member of one family, who like the rest, constantly lives in fear that the others will tire of him and sell him off, decides to play his cards in such a way, that only he is left. After realizing he is now alone, he gets himself a dog for companionship. Someone he can trust won’t sell him off if they ever disagree.

Short Film: The Third and The Seventh

The Third and The Seventh by Alex Roman

This architectural short film grabbed my attention once I noticed it included the parliament building in Dhaka. I briefly mentioned it in the TEDx post (it includes a link to the video about its history and the life of Nathaniel Kahn, the architect).

This short however starts with some beautiful architectural imagery. It’s filmed in high definition and best viewed full screen. But just when you think that there isn’t that much more to it, it slowly starts to pull you in as a wonderfully strange imaginary world comes to life. One I wouldn’t mind living in to be honest. I was quite impressed by the camera work and first thought it was done with the new range of DSLR’s that support video while offering more depth of field control at affordable prices.

But I was a bit surprised that one would travel all the way to Bangladesh just to film a building. Then I realized the entire movie was created with CGI. Quite impressive as it was all done by one man, Alex Roman, and a lot of time. That it really is all just bits and bytes can be seen here. Real buildings in an unreal world.

Short Film: Just a love story (not quite safe for work)

Boy meets girl in an elevator

Boy meets girl in an elevator. Boy likes girl. Boy too scared to ask her out. So far, so typical. However; this is not your every-day-garden-variety-love-story.

Just when you think his situation is nothing more than awkward at best, the film takes a turn for the strange. Our boy not only invites an odd bedfellow into his life, it is through this curious action, that he is led to believe that there might be more to this girl than meets the eye.

Short Film: On Time

A young man inspecting the contents of a suitcase in On Time

A young man sitting in a departure hall – hurting over broken dreams – is approached by a traveling salesman. With him, he carries a unique proposition: he sells the future. The young man, skeptical of what he is being offered, and puzzled how seeing the future could possibly repair events gone wrong in the past, takes a peak into our salesman’s attaché case. His face turns to amazement.

At this point, I was expecting a MacGuffin, a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock. It’s a plot device that has no other use than to further the story along. So I was expecting a Pulp Fiction moment, were the case is opened and starts emitting a golden glow as bystanders look at its content in amazement. But to us, the viewer, the contents is never revealed. It’s merely a prop that gives its characters a reason worth killing for. So in the end, it doesn’t matter if it is gold or a fresh batch of tasty Royale with cheese.

So great was my surprise that in this little short, we actually afforded a peek inside the case. And I have to admit that I too watched in amazement. He actually was selling the future. Our young man decides to seize the moment, but at what cost?

Jojo in the Stars

jojo-in-the-stars

Pica Towers

In the days before YouTube — when video was still scarcely sprinkled over the internet — a moody website popped up with three short 1 minute animations called Pica Towers. The series was a disturbing glimpse into a distopian world. It focused around the life in a sky scraping tower — somewhere in the middle of a desolate nowhere — inhabited by strange robot like creatures. It is here where we witness some really awful and horrific scenes, yet we never quite make out what’s really going on , or why, if there even is a why.

The shorts were released in the following order:

There will be no comfort. Close the doors!

The success of the series led to a fourth and longer animation in 2004 called “Jojo in the Stars“. Not only do we finally learn more about the tower, it’s also a classic love story where the heart is stronger than struggle and abandon, or good looks for that matter. And before you start thinking: robot like creatures can’t possibly fall in love with each other; In a way, one might consider this the darker version of Pixar’s “WALL-E”.

Pica Towers and Jojo in the Stars were created by Marc Craste from Studio AKA.

A Stop Motion Tilt Shift Music Video

Tilt shift stop motion video of a helicopter rescue mission at sea

This music video uses a technique called tilt shift photography. Tilt shift lenses are – as the name indicates – able to be tilted and shifted relative to the camera sensor. These special lenses are mostly used in architectural photography where images taken with a normal lens tend to suffer from heavy perspective distortion. Lines that should appear parallel from each other start to converge to a single point instead. But by using tilt shift lenses, photographers can ‘bend’ light in a controlled manner, neutralizing the effects of the perspective distortion, and thus making lines look straight again.

But by overdoing this technique, one can achieve the effect of turning real world scenes into toy like looking models. The shallow depth of field and over saturated colors enforce this idea. It’s the complete opposite of what Hollywood films tend to do: film small models and then make them appear larger than life. Either way, it gives us a completely different look on our world.

Keith Loutit, photographer in question has also made other such video’s such as North Wind Blew South.

View Cameras

view camera Tilt shift photography originated from the accordion like view cameras. Because the photographic plate was only connected to the lens plate by a accordion folded bellow, both plates could be moved independently from each other, letting the photographer distort his image anyway he wanted. These cameras however are mostly only still used by die hard photographers for landscape and studio photography as they quite large, heavy and unwieldy to use.

And for those interested, Canon has just released a new 24mm tilt shift lens for their EOS DSLR line up. It’s a lot more versatile then their previous version and a lot easier to carry around than a view camera.

Short Film: World Builder

Woman walking down a the streets of a virtual world created by a man that loves her

Synopsis: “A strange man builds a world using holographic tools for the woman he loves.”

Really well done and how I would love to have a tool such as the one as in this short film. Then again, I would probably risc creating my own world and never ever leaving it again. The short was done by Bruce Branit, the same person that also worked on another wonderful little film several years ago: flight 405 (and its official site). Using only cheap off-the-shelf soft- and hardware, it was ground breaking at the time. It opened the door to any creative with a good idea and lots of hard work, to create a hollywood style production from the comfort of their home at a reasonable budget. (via kottke)

The Bloody Olive: A Short Film Noir

Veerle Van Overloop in the short film noir: The Bloody Olive

Shot in black and white, Werner and Mylene are both preparing for a cozy Christmas evening at home. All of a sudden, the festive mood is disturbed by the ringing of the doorbell. An unexpected guest has arrived. Or is he so unexpected?

The Bloody Olive takes the genre of the old film noirs to an absurd new level. In just ten short minutes, we are introduced to a love triangle, betrayal, double crosses, murder, and so many plot twists and turns, it’ll make your head spin. The result is hilarious as you struggle to figure out what could possibly happen next.

It’s a short that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s also not so much a parody in the classical sense, but more of a playful wink to the genre. A well shot film with some great camera angles, wonderful light & shadow play, the story pacing is right and the acting is subliminally brilliant.

My favorite moment: Warner’s expression when he first discovers his wife is still alive.

A Belgian production. Dutch spoken. English subtitles.

The Ephemeral Nature of Design

Last Friday, Bert asked me to name a few cool projects we had created recently. My mind drew a blank. Not that we hadn’t made anything cool, far from it. It’s just very rare to ever look back. Once a project is delivered, we’re usually already too busy working on the next one to sit down and contemplate on our achievements. As they say over here: Out of sight, out of heart.

For the past fifteen years, I have, as a graphic designer, worked on all kinds of internet projects. And if there is one thing I understand, it’s that a lot of what I create is ephemeral. Some of the designers I know never wanted to make the switch to digital, because when you design for print, you at least have something substantial that you can touch and feel at the end of the day. With digital, everything remains virtual. Add to that, I work in a fast paced sector and much of what I create will soon quickly become outdated or obsolete.

Continue reading…

Esencia de una seducción

A scene from Quizás Quizás Quizás

At first I thought it was a music video. Turns out however, it was actually made as a commercial for Loewe (perfume). But what ever it was intended for, it’s well made. It’s a strange mix of animation and live action depicting the antics of a diva staying in a nostalgic 1930’s era hotel. And to top it all of, a very fitting soundtrack sets the proper mood.
You can view a higher resolution version over here, but it has also made its way to YouTube. Enjoy.

T-shirts with the god Shiva print