SXSW Film

Interviews and reviews

Experimental Shorts

D: various

Reynold Reynolds's "Stadtplan" opens the Experimental Shorts program, a hypnotic, split-screen and time-lapsed trip through Berlin, where the divide running down the images stands in stead for the long-separated country. Conversely, Wenhua Shi's "Endless" is punishing and powerful, fractured, throbbing corpuscles of animation over arcane footage of forgotten rituals, a theatre-rattling drone lending it ever increasing momentum. Other bravura works of visual art include Joe King & Rosie Pedlow's "Sea Change," wherein dolly shots of rows of trailers, filmed overnight and day, rain and shine, are integrated seamlessly into one take; "Train Tower," is excerpted from David Crompton's and Andrew Herfst's Fieldbook project, shots from ascending escalators integrated into a supremely clean, disorienting ride; and Deco Dawson's unfortunately monikered "Dumb Angel," which also tweaks sound design and viewer expectations. Ambitious yet smaller productions round out the rest of the program: Michael Medaglia's "The Ratsnitch Angel," its sordid narrator requiring red-tinted glasses ("1.5D technology – one half of 3-D") to be seen. "spam letter + google image search = videentertainment," is just like it sounds, simple and ingenious. A computerized voice reads a Nigerian currency scammer e-mail while Google image results flash on screen in correspondence to the words being read – the hilarity lies in the audience's ability to gradually pull out the visual patterns flashing in front of them. Despite valiant effort, there was little sense to be gleaned from Andrew Auten's "Deprivation II" – not that that's a bad thing. Reveling in its own absurdity from the first frame, disembodied, homely, and detuned voices ping-pong through our protagonist's head as she sleeps, awakens, and stuffs things into her mouth, all while a grotesque procession of antiquated images and retro-futuristic imagery crowds the frame.

"Sea Change" and "Marion" tied for the Experimental Jury Award; "Stadtplan" was the runner-up.

6:30pm, Dobie

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