Lot of variety, spirit show up in Film Fest
The 7th Nevada City Film Festival offers on Saturday, Aug. 18, two short-film programs amongst its expanded set of programs that take place from Aug. 16 through 19. Focusing on selections from the 7 p.m. program at the Magic Theatre, this is the second in a series that highlights the festival’s variety of offerings and its independent spirit.
A miracle is “any amazing or wonderful occurrence” or as so many are inclined to believe, “a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of God.” The film “Miraculum” starts with the camera focused on a recently born child. Its half-hour journey to the final camera shot is set in the Middle East.
One family in the story is Muslim, the other family, Christian. Violence between sectarian groups pepper the daily headlines. The two families are close friends – professionals sharing modern, civilized society. Though it occupies very little screen time, they discuss issues. They discuss the need to discuss issues. They discuss not discussing anything too controversial.
It is not clear whether the parents understand the relationship between the adult daughter of one family and the adult son of the other family, or whether these parents would allow themselves to understand. It is clear that these two adult children think they know what their parents are unable to understand.
The story, so deftly set in the Middle East, is not about horrific war or war’s horrific infrastructure. There is only one act of violence represented on screen. Simpler than horrific war, but in its way as consequential and controversial, that one act of violence turns its eyes from the miraculum.
Breasts figure quite prominently in film. This common cinematic distraction knows no better satirical gander than “The Frank Anderson.” Go and see why this 13 minutes of fun is titled “The Frank Anderson,” not merely “Frank Anderson.”
If this anatomical turn were simply about man-boobs, the gimmick would suffer from the kind of flatness that often weighs down such pat comedic cleverness. The makers of “The Frank Anderson” do the distraction justice by creating character chemistry and witty storytelling that carries further than sketch comedy.
Only one film is scheduled to be shown twice at the 7th Nevada City Film Festival. “Tyger” is a visual feast – an incredible short burst of imagination. Its five minutes radiates creativity and artistry. Its tone is what the potential of a short film is all about.
What force guides the Tyger’s roar through a big city? The answer moves in a shade of black like you’ve never seen on film. Who – or what – inhabits this trans-animated city? The densely populated answer, boldly subtle and rather amusing, changes constantly. What fate is in store for this city? The answer grows and curls across the night without anything like an explanation.
This Brazilian entry into Nevada City’s much evolved film festival will drop people’s jaws. Some will not know what to make of “The Tyger.” Some will know not to try to make anything of it. It is brilliantly what it is.
Chuck Jaffee lives in Nevada City. Find his other reviews for The Union at http://www.startlets.com.
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