Chuck Jaffee: Try these shorts on for size at festival
Special to the Union
This is the fourth and final review of films in the 8th Nevada City Film Festival, which runs tonight through Sunday. Find links to other festival reviews in The Union at http://www.startlets.com.
See http://www.nevadacityfilmfestival.com/2008films.html for a full list of festival films.
“Feelings and Stuff,” dorky and peculiar, manages to be a nice little romance. Actually very dorky and very peculiar, this imaginative 12 minutes of boy-meets-girl fits perfectly into the spirit of independent film festival opportunity.
A nerdy young man, who finally got the hint that he no longer had a girlfriend, stands paleskinned and scared at the edge of a diving platform at a community pool. A nerdy young woman, pale skinned and engaging, shows up on the platform. It gives little away to say that a six-foot-tall koala bear, along with a couple other offbeat manifestations, figures prominently in the charming randomness of this script.
“Gandhi at the Bat” commits fully to its simple absurdity. This 11-minute “mockumentary” uncovers long-suppressed footage of Mohandas Gandhi’s 1933 visit to Yankee Stadium.
Sign on to the fun. It’s all mildly cute and clever and pseudo-nostalgic. Effective fakery renders newsreel-style reporting, including interactions with famous baseball players of yesteryear. Not engaged enough merely by being a spectator, the “Nabob of Non-violence” wants a turn at bat.
Babe Ruth coaches Gandhi before he shuffles to home plate. Before the credits roll, with its string of concept-extending tidbits, you’ll see the great Mahatma in one of the most historic climaxes never to have happened in the annals of baseball.
“Voor een Knikkers Meer” means “For a Few Marbles More” in Dutch. This one of many international entries doesn’t map itself to Clint Eastwood’s “For a Few Dollars More.” What this 11-minute film does is pit four kids against a couple of adult bullies who kick them out of their playground. And it’s going to cost these preteens a tidy bunch of marbles to pay for some courage.
From the opening credits throughout the downbeat setting, the tone is humorously heavy. The parents in the film are too preoccupied. It’s all up to the kids. “Voor een Knikkers Meer” is the opposite of important filmmaking. It is a crafty little bit of entertainment.
Chuck Jaffee of Nevada City likes to plug people into the spirit of independent filmmakers.
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