BMFF: Friday Short Program Highlights

Friday marks the second (and final) day of the Bloody Mary Film Festival, held at the Carlton Cinemas in Toronto. The Friday shorts program begins at 9:30 pm, following the feature film Berkshire County (review to follow!)

I was very impressed with the selection of shorts presented this year; here are a few of my favourites from the Friday program:

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The Sleepwalker (2017)

Director Anna Cooley definitely knows her silent films. The Sleepwalker tells the story of a woman forced into battle with the demons dwelling in her nightmares in order to save the woman she loves from great peril. The twist? As she fights the demons, her own sleepwalking body moves ever closer to the edge of a river. As a silent film fan, I adored the perfect silent movie score and opening credits, along with the film’s charming production design and aesthetic. This short echoes the particular narrative and technical nuances and quirks of early silent film with exquisite, loving attention to detail.

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Atlas World (2017)

Atlas World, Morgana McKenzie’s stylish horror short set in the style of a music video snagged Best Film Canada 150 and  Best Director at TIFF Next Wave Jump Cuts. The film is set to the track Atlas World (Solomun Day Remix) by Liu Bei, and its rich, pulsating electronic soundscape is completely uninterrupted by dialogue. Haunting imagery heightened by strobe effects, moody lighting, and vibrant colours create a visually stunning story of a young girl forced to face the consequences of experimenting with a ouija board when an evil spirit pulls her and her friends into a living nightmare.

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La Peau Savage (Wild Skin) (2016)

A young woman makes a deep and startling connection with a snake that she finds in her apartment in Ariane Louis-Seize’s Le Peau Savage. The film moves with the same slow, hypnotic grace as the python itself, promoting a slithering, creeping dread as the short approaches its absolutely perfect conclusion. Fantastic colour grading and cinematography coupled with lush set design and a mesmerizing performance by Marilyn Castonguay make for a highly memorable viewing experience.

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Talking Heads (2017)

With Talking Heads, writer-director Alyx Melone has created a brilliant and subversive call-out of societal beauty standards that is alternately hilarious, tragic, and rightfully horrifying. A candy-coated palette, fittingly arch performances, and biting satire add to its charm.

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A Brief History of the Apocalypse (2016)

A gripping, claustrophobic tale of co-dependence and conflict in a watery apocalypse, Erica Genereux Smith’s A Brief History of the Apocalypse centres on the impressively-developed relationship between two roommates, one confident and outgoing, the other consumed with anxieties. In the wake of a natural disaster, their dynamic changes, and the two must learn to cope with their new normal.

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Bestia (2017)

Gigi Saul Guerrero’s Bestia is the harrowing story of a man who wakes up alone on the edge of a lake surrounded by thick forest, only to hear the ominous sound of an unknown beast prowling nearby. Bestia also screened at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival; read Suri’s review here.

See you at the Carlton?

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