Short Program # 1
The first two shorts were about poor people having to make horrendously hard life decisions that had been thrust upon them because of their socioeconomic status. The first short call A Days Work addresses the highly volatile issue of immigrant labor. A seemingly innocuous situation as a middle class couple pick three latino immigrants to help them pack and move, goes awry right from the start asthey try to haggle over the rate of pay. Things escalate and the paranoia seeps in and one man gets shot and another stabbed. A bit over there top but never the less it addresses a very hot topic. Directed by Rajeev Dassani, 2008.
The next short was simple in construction but it brought tears to my eyes. A beautiful Philippine mother was faced with the hardest decision of her life. To keep her son or put in up for adoption so he could have an education. As she struggled with her agonizing situation, the boy’s innocents and trust sent daggers into her heart as well as ours. The mother seemed confused and unsure of her decision. “I must want to ask them a few questions” she pleads with the adoption lady. “Just take the envelope by the door with the money and leave”. Tears fill her eyes as she leads her innocent and unknowing son to meet his new parents. After his mother has left him standing inside the door and she has closed the door, a very unpleasant looking older gentlemen with a stubble beard looks down on his new prize. The boy looks up in a very non understanding of the torture that the rest of life will be. “My name is Enrique” he state and as the film closes we know in horror what has transpired. Directed by Mark Reyes 2007 titlled God Only Knows.
There were six shorts in all ranging from 11 minutes to 17 minutes. I will provide a glimpse of the four most powerful. The next one was heart warming story in direct contradiction to the first two shorts entitled Hawaikii. In a short coming from New Zealand Directed by Mark Jonathan 2007, a young Maori girl tries to understand her heritage and her lineage. She is seen polishing her family pictures and looking deep into the eyes of ancient Maori warriors from which she is a direct descendant. Her class is asked to provide an example of their transport or what you use to get around. She sits in the class and looks around many of her fellow students who are well to do white people. She struggles to find the answer for the transport assignment and while she is sleeping her father provides a wood carving of Maori fishing boat. She proudly takes it to class and shows the boat . She is getting to know about her people, the Maori’s, who have lived in New Zealand longer than the white settlers who came later. A touching film in direct contrast from the first two.
The last short titled “Porno” was in way the most audacious. A very promiscuous young lady moves into a apartment complex in a poor part of Poland. The eastern block tenements were a dreary and cold place. Upon her first meeting with Malik the young girl states “you want to see my pussy “ and proceed to pull her dress up. Malik is young enough, or nice enough to not use the girl like all the other men.There friendship develops and they have a kind of warmth for each other that transcends the dreary life of living in the poorer parts of Poland. The film quickly shows how barbaric some places can be. Most of the film is shot outside and it seems that the winters in this part of Poland are dark, over cast and just plain depressing. Jan Wagner 2006 U. S. Premiere.