There is something special about Canadian short films. They are thought-provoking and profound, at the same time, simple and subtle. Canadian film-makers have turned out some masterpieces, especially in the last couple of years. We look at some of these short films.
Amélie’s cousin brings a new boyfriend to a family gathering. The couple’s flirtatious interactions and steamy exchanges ignite Amélie’s secret desires. Their explicit romance awakens her sexuality and brings forth her subliminal urges. Dealing with her inner desires puts her in strange situations — some dramatic and others comic. How Amélie deals with these situations forms the film’s crux.
Ariane Louis-Seize’s short film, made in French (Les petites vagues), shows how youngsters deal with their sexuality. At times, their reactions are in-your-face while at others, discreetly open.
Two boys are playing an innocent power game in the Quebec wilderness when it suddenly takes a dramatic turn. What begins as a goofy indulgence turns into a horrific experience.
More than the landscapes and the story, the movie is highlighted by the performances of Félix Grenier and Alexandre Perreault. They are magnificent as the boys who inadvertently get caught in a fatal turn of events. You’ll laugh, dance, and also sink in despair like them.
Through Fauve, director Jérémy Comte relives his personal experiences. Comte grew up in the Canadian countryside. As a child, he had recurring nightmares about the kind of scenario depicted in the film.
A therapy group of five animals meets regularly to discuss their inner angst. One day, an ape —Victor — with anger-management issues, is introduced to the group. While each animal is trying to come to grips with its own problems, Victor lambasts the whole idea. Victor finds the group obnoxious and feels that they are overly self-obsessed. His hostility intimidates the other animals. What comes naturally to one animal is difficult to understand for another. Isn’t this true for us humans, too?
Alison Snowden and David Fine have directed this animated masterpiece. It is their first film after the 1993 Oscar-winning film Bob's Birthday.
Marguerite, an elderly woman, is tended to by Rachel, a homecare nurse. During a casual conversation, Rachel reveals that she’s a lesbian. This fact takes Marguerite back to her younger days when she had fallen in love with a woman. Then, she could never express her feelings, fearing a societal backlash. Today, many years later, she confronts her unacknowledged romantic feelings. Her friendship with Rachel allows her to make peace with her longing.
Marguerite is a touching portrayal of same-gender love that transcends generations. Watch it for the poignant silence between the two women — their pure smiles conveying deep emotions.
Lou desperately wants to get out of her small town in rural Ontario. So does her friend, Chantal. The two women are not seeking fame, love, or money — just freedom. In their own words, they want to just “blow up” in the big city. They set out to seek a new, exciting life — very different from their current mundane existence.
Director Jasmin Mozaffari’s strong female characters exude a vibe of freedom — rarely seen in short films. She stays clear of stereotypical nuances, including ‘seeking love’ or ‘searching for acceptance’ or ‘coming to terms’. The reception to the short film inspired Mozaffari to develop Firecrackers as a full-length feature film in 2018.
Malek, a young Tunisian Muslim, comes back to his home after a long period of disappearance. He is accompanied by a young and pregnant wife, heavily veiled in a hijab. Malek’s mother and brothers are overjoyed at his return. However, Malek’s father, Mohamed, is visibly unhappy. The reason — Malek had gone to Syria to fight with the ISIS as a Mujahid. Mohamed considers Malek as a deserter and a terrorist. He now sees Malek and his wife as a threat to his family’s peace.
The stares, the silence and the sounds in the film reflect the dormant distress of the family. Northern Tunisia’s coastline and chilly hills accentuate the film’s troubled mood. Brotherhood is soaked in angst and will haunt you for a long time.