Future Shorts Festival in Berlin

Alex J. Eccleston

The newly formed Berlin Film Society will be premièring the Spring edition of the Future Shorts Festival in Berlin on March 3rd. The ‘first ever global pop-up festival’ will be showcasing a selection of exciting and critically acclaimed short films, followed by an after party featuring live bands and DJs, all hosted at the former Hungarian cultural centre .HBC.

Kicking off the event will be Bear, one of only 9 shorts from the 3000 submitted to be shown at the Cannes film festival last year. The Australian film-maker Nash Edgerton took on the challenging task of writing, directing and starring in the picture. Bear is a sequel of sorts from his 2007 short Spider, although intentionally works as a stand-alone piece in it’s own right. The same main character Jack is reintroduced, and the audience is invited to see if he has learned any lessons about taking his love of pranks too far. Despite a darkly humorous element, Edgerton’s work doesn’t fit easily into any genre. Expect to be entertained.

Quadrangle

Based in Long Island, just after the death of the 1960′s, New York native Amy Grappel’s documentary Quadrangle begins with the one of the main protagonists telling us that “Everything is a tragedy, everyone has a tragedy. Everyone has an interesting life”. The film follows the journey of two couples whose relationships are failing as they grow bored with the rat race, kids and suburban life. Eschewing convention, they attempt to embark on a four-way domestic living experiment as an alternative to divorce. Initially a happy arrangement, the situation becomes increasingly complicated and begins to unravel. There are no clear heroes or villains in this piece, just the objective telling of a real, personal story.

Love You More 

Love You More by English Director Sam Taylor-Wood takes it’s title from the Buzzcocks song of the same name. The film continues the long tradition (that appears to be nearing an obsession) among British film-makers of social realism. We explore the tale of two young lovers at the epicentre of of punk in late 70s London. It is a fantastically tender and fair depiction of teenage love, written by Oscar nominee Patrick Marber and produced by Oscar winner Anthony Minghella.

A particularly sweet treat will be served up by the latest short from Spike Jonze. Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die by Your Side) sees Jonze truly back in his element. Although only a few minutes long, it is a funny and silly visual delight that will have you enraptured and giggling. Created in a unique looking stop-motion style using 3000 individual bits of felt, it was co-directed by Simon Cahn with designs by Olympia Le-Tan.

L’Homme Sans Tête

Although longer, clocking in at 18 minutes, the film L’Homme Sans Tête (The Man Without a Head) by director Juan Solanas was made over a period of four years. Solanas had previously worked primarily as a cinematographer – something that is clearly apparent from the quite astounding visual style and technical wizardry on display. A true believer in film as art and shorts as not merely a stepping stone, he has said: “We’re living in a period where cinema is a product; movies are becoming more and more commercialised. Short films are one of the last real places for artistic freedom – they’re important to celebrate just for that.”

Venus

The most recently released film on show will be Danish director Tor Fruergaard’s claymation ‘erotic’ comedy Venus, which follows a couple’s attempts to reignite the flame in their non-existent sex life via a trip to a local swingers club. The film is a light-hearted short that takes an almost childish delight in the clay renderings of the squishier and saggier parts of the human body. An unpretentious bit of fun.

So, a top quality and varied selection on show. All a good excuse to discuss the films afterwards and party the night away, highly recommended.

Future Shorts in Berlin will take place at .HBC this saturday, March 3rd.