The Venice Film Festival posted 70-ish short films online to commemorate their 70th anniversary. I watched them gradually over the past year. Already rounded up my favorites and least favorites – this is the rest.

Krzysztof Zanussi

Kids haul a film can containing Zanussi’s Venice prize-winning A Year of the Quiet Sun from a trash can.

Sono Sion

“Cinema’s Future is My Future” title cards. An excited man films things in a neon room. A crowd chants “seventy!”

Antonio Capuano

Green-haired teen zombies carry video cubes on subway station escalators.

Tariq Teguia

“Still, tomorrow’s cinema will be saying: someone is here.”
He has a Film Socialisme poster. Show-off.

James FrancoThe Future of Cinema

FF Coppola says he hopes filmmaking professionalism will be destroyed and regular people will be able to make them. Then some vandals trash a house and it looks like we’re watching the framing story of V/H/S. Then all goes berzerk, and Franco appears, laughing amidst the chaos.

Pablo Larraín

Camera perched atop one of those sail-surfboards looking down, piano playing a riff on “My Blue Heaven”.

Nicolás Pereda

Single shot of couple in bed playing on their phones, unseriously discussing getting married.

Wang Bing

A guy works the land, comes home to his horrible, fly-infested cave.

Kim Ki-dukMy Mother

Kim films his own mother going to the store (slowly and painfully), buying cabbage and prepping dinner for his visit.

Edgar Reitz

Franz Kafka is moved by a film, walks outside into the present-day world of everpresent video screens and advertising. Searching for the source of his quote (“Went to the movies. Wept.”) led to an interesting-looking book called Kafka Goes to the Movies.

Pablo TraperoCinema Is All Around

iPhone videos of tourists taking photos at a waterfall while Doris Day sings Que Sera Sera.

Jia Zhang-ke

People watch old movies on new screens.
Unusually commercial-looking style for Jia.

João Pedro RodriguesAllegoria Della Prudenza

Grave sites (there are multiple) for Kenji Mizoguchi in the whispering wind. Cameo appearance by the grave of Portuguese director Paulo Rocha.

Peter Ho-Sun ChanThe Future Was In Their Eyes

Photo montage of the eyes of many dead filmmakers.

Isabel Coixet

A square little film sketch with bouncy music.

Haile Gerima

He’s in an edit suite reviewing Harvest: 3000 Years. “I am incarcerated in the historical circumstances of Africa. Our cinema is a hostaged cinema.”

Atom EgoyanButterfly

He lets us see video of an Anton Corbijn gallery exhibit before deleting it from his phone. “Frankly I can’t be bothered to store more useless memories that I’ll never look at again, so I have to make some choices of what to lose.”

Hong Sang-soo50:50

Guy smokes with a stranger, tells her that his wife, sitting on a nearby bench, is terribly ill.

Celina Murga

Theater full of kids watch a movie.

Hala Alabdalla

Driving through Syria shooting through a window with a beard-n-sunglasses silhouette stuck on. Then: close-ups of eyeballs.

Pietro Marcello

Silent stock footage and clips of film equipment at work, then a Guy Debord quote.

Jan CvitkovicI Was a Child

Nice moving camera while narrator tells of when she first realized that everything is god.

Jazmín López

Camera follows a trail of discarded objects to two identically-dressed girls making out.

Amir NaderiDon’t Give Up

Aged film of dust storm on a dead sea cut with some present-day film storage room.

Alexey German Jr.5000 Days Ahead

Single travelling shot, people on a beach discussing movies of the future, personal experiences using neural transmitters, “like dreams with subtitles.”

Benoît Jacquot

Single take of a girl looking into camera.

John Akomfrah

B/W travel footage rapidly edited, closing with titles about the Boston Marathon bombing.

Shekhar Kapur

Bunch of short fragments using the white balance and focus in nonstandard ways.

Davide FerrarioLighthouse

Open-air cinema is playing Buster Keaton, shown with nice helicopter(?) shot.

Ermanno OlmiLa Moviola

So that’s what a moviola looks like. Hands and a sort of stop-motion/time-lapse ghost set it up and start it rolling.

Giuseppe Piccioni

We’re at a party, dude goes to get a drink for the girl in center of shot, and she slowly glides with the camera into the other room, audio from a climactic scene from Double Indemnity in her head, then back again.

Brillante MendozaThe Camera

A movie is being filmed, shots of people across town already enjoying it on TV, but back on set someone has run off with the camera.

Monte Hellman

Slate, couple at a cafe, he pays and leaves while she silently cries, the traffic noise dialing down, slow pull in, then “cut”.

Teresa VillaverdeAmapola

Poem recital like a horror-movie bible reading, “jackals that the jackals would despise,” blurry TV sets with close-ups of faces upon them.

Guido LombardiSensa Fine

Last shot of a film, the lead actors kiss, then won’t stop kissing.

Shirin Neshat

Scenes from October and Potemkin played with a stop-motion-looking low frame-rate.

Anthology films are never great, but are usually at least interesting, so I was surprised when this one started out great. But of course it was just front-loaded, and got less great as the other episodes appeared. Didn’t realize at the time that the great one was by Ermanno Olmi (a director who, like Ronald Neame yesterday, has done a couple criterion-dvd-released movies that I know nothing about). Was less of a straightforward story than the other two – an important-seeming older guy leaves business meeting and boards train with this woman’s help, then sits in the dining car thinking about writing the woman a letter, thinking about falling in love with her, all the while surrounded by other passengers incl. a bunch of army and security guys. Doesn’t sound like all that, but I really dug it, balancing the tense (because of the army guys) train ride with the flashbacks and an almost-love story, seemed very beautifully done.

In the third part, Loach lowers the class level a few more notches (after the woman in Kiarostami’s piece had already knocked it down a little) portraying three excitable young men with shit jobs who have been saving up to see this soccer match in Rome. On the train, one shows off his soccer ticket to a refugee kid, who takes the opportunity to swipe his train ticket. The soccer kids realize what has happened – do they demand their ticket back themselves, have the train personnel mediate, or let the cute kid and his poor jail-threatened family keep the ticket then run away from the cops at the station while fellow soccer fans run interference? The latter, and valuable lessons about humanity are learned by all. Actually I found it pretty lame, a crappy version of the triumphant ending of Offside. A valuable lesson about humanity is learned at the end of the first segment as well, the man getting a glass of milk for the mother of a baby in the standing-room section – not the highlight of that segment, but still less hacky than this one’s ending.

In the center slot, Kiarostami shows a kid assigned (through some community service program) to assist a general’s widow, a horrible woman who steals one man’s seat but does not steal another man’s cell phone, and gets into unbudging arguments with both of them. Meanwhile our kid is trying to have a surreal conversation with a young girl who remembers him from his hometown – he never noticed the girl before but she’s a friend of his younger sister. The conversation seems like she’s telling him about someone else, as if he doesn’t remember his own past, but maybe she remembers his past from a different angle; she only knows the parts he had been ignoring. We don’t get much about this guy in the present, what he’s like, but finally the widow gets to be too much and he hides from her somewhere on the train, letting her exit confused without him (with baggage help from the cellphone-argument man, a minor version of the Valuable Lesson About Humanity).

An alright movie – not much innovation in story or composition or anything else, but I’m glad I watched it, and I might make Katy check out that particularly moving first segment sometime if she’s got a half hour to kill.




On the DVD: a 40-min behind-the-scenes doc where we learn that it took a while to come up with the transitional segments to join the three main pieces. That’s something I could’ve been told in under forty minutes, thanks.