DIR: Various | Canadian Images Shorts | 2014 | 96 min
The short film that I went into the theatres especially looking forward to was Light, a film directed by UBC student, Yassmina Karaja. However, after watching the short film montage We Both Go Down Together, the power and passion packed into short films unexpectedly gained my esteem. Here are some highlights I took from watching the short film montage, This Must Be the Place.
1. The short film, Light, directed by Yassmina Karaja, definitely impressed me in its efforts to keep the audience engaged, despite a lack of scene changes or multi-character dynamics.
During the question and answer period with Yassmina after the film, she explained that with a student budget it was nearly impossible to gain an authentic hospital setting and as such, she needed to be creative in finding a setting that would still work for her and her vision for the film. Yassmina explained that they eventually settled upon a room within a UBC building that had formerly been a hospital but on screen, this nuance is barely noticeable. The ingenuity required to stretch the setting of an empty hospital room as well as a one character plot-line is not an easy thing to do, and I commend Yassmina on creating such an engaging film out of what she had.
2. I highlight the short film, Bison, directed by Kevan Funk because of the unique way in which it touched upon Canada’s violent colonial history. The film begins by depicting a white, Saskatchewan boy in his early twenties driving to his home town in a white pick-up truck. On the way, he notices an Aboriginal man walking on foot along the dirt road and watches his rear-view mirror reflecting the Aboriginal man as he drives farther and farther away.
Throughout the film, the distinct culture of his family and town are emphasized and ultimately, when faced with a disturbing mystery, chooses to drive away once again without searching more deeply into the roots of the past. I especially liked the scene depicting a short window into the work that goes on in a cattle ranch because of how new and shocking that sort of work seemed to me.
3. The last short film I want to highlight is Lifers, directed by Joel Salaysay. I really enjoyed this film because of the story it weaved around the lives of individuals making their living through working in a kitchen. I felt as though I was let in on the secret world of chefs, sous-chefs, bus boys, and restaurant managers. Told through the narration of a bus boy, I was captivated by this behind-the-scenes look at a restaurant and the the people that make up a kitchen.
Lifers was not all simply about the every day occurrences within a restaurant kitchen; it touched on the hopelessness of being forced into an unsatisfying job and career path simply because you have no where else to go. Such a message, while difficult to swallow, was eye-opening and left me thinking about the problematic situation many people face today of feeling “stuck”.