Along with the more high-profile feature films, we should not overlook the short film entries in Venice. I commend those that have been selected. The short film competition in Venice has programmed a total of twelve entries this year. The selection represents all regions of the world except South America.
Two further films selected are screening out of competition. One, an intriguing piece titled Si by Italian director Luca Ferri. Running at just under 20 minutes, it has a split screen effect; the left side for the visuals, the right for text. In his notes, the director talks of Si as the first of five planned films representing absence. Here, a man studies a series of encyclopedic images from the Prelinger Archives, illustrating the creation of the cosmos.
Humanity is conspicuously absent, represented only in its works and ruins. The man falls asleep and sinks into a nightmare of arctic hunters killing polar bears, while the compellingly melancholic soundtrack features two pieces of contemporary music by the composer Agazzi with the text linked to the director’s personal childhood memory of a suicide. Hope and redemption are also tellingly absent in this unique and pessimistic appraisal of the contemporary human condition.
The sole entry from the United Kingdom, a Scottish film called The Shift, directed by Laura Carreira. It is a candid snapshot of contemporary social dependency in an ever increasing insecure world of employment. A young woman called Anna takes her dog for a walk in the woods, then goes to the local supermarket. Waiting at the checkout, she gets a phone call telling her she has lost her shift as a temporary worker.
The director stated that he felt the need to represent this common but largely unaddressed social situation. The film conveys this poignant vulnerability as representation of an increasing amount of people. Shift, represents the temporary shift work and also the poignant shift in personal situation and security, as a powerless young woman sees her life change spontaneously and inexorably.
~ Steven Yates loves cinema. He is a frequent contributor to Black and Paper