Experimental

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s not this column’s intention to promote wacky memes (despite our appreciation of cat videos from 1890), so please trust that this particular video is something that bends a wildly popular piece of culture into something a bit more challenging. On the surface, YouTube user Moto2h has used simple sound editing techniques to transform something we’ve all heard way too many times, but the experience of watching “Gangnam Style” without the music is completely uneasy. It’s a sonic cousin of “Garfield Minus Garfield,” and I’m pretty sure it creates the kind of existential crisis that Kafka would tear his hair out about. Admittedly, it’s hard to explain why. Maybe it’s a case of the familiar being made alien, but it seems more likely that this video crawls up into the range of experimental genius by exposing the grand absurdity not only of this single music video, but inherent in the artform at large. Without the glue of the song to unite the images, they become impossibly disconnected, and the editing becomes almost wholly unintelligible. It’s something fun twisted into something deeply, deeply bizarre. Hat tipt to Andrew Sullivan for featuring it. What will it cost you? Only 4 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? During his photo shoot for the cover of this month’s Details, Jake Gyllenhaal was let loose with a camera, using it to capture the boredom and the tedium that accompanies such a high profile shoot, along with plenty of shots of craft services and people bitching about each other. Oh, Hollywood! The short also plays as a nice companion piece to the single song that makes up its soundtrack – Aaron Embry’s “Moon on a Daylit Sky.” Yes, it’s pretty naval-gazey, but aren’t most photo shoots? What will it cost you? Only 4 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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The Best Short Films

  Why Watch? With the announcement of the second wave of Fantastic Fest movies, it seems fitting to watch something bizarre. Our very own Brian Kelley hipped me to this experimental short from Sam Walker where a chorus line of children dressed in duck costumes morphs into something much, much more sinister. The atonal score does a lot of the creepy heavy lifting, but the fairy-terrifying smile of a princess and the giant-headed hunter to the rest. Yes, this is weird as hell. Gloriously, gloriously weird as hell. What will it cost you? Only 7 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Aided by the kind of brightly harmonic techno sound that’s most likely brainwashing everyone, this short from Joshua Catalano is an immersive experiment in animation where images build on each other to their breaking point. With scenes that ape desert landscapes with bulging building blocks and massive ice cream sundaes with straws chasing an infinite horizon, the entire sequence is beyond hypnotic. What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? This animated short from David Broner is a smile factory the same way a fistful of the right kind of mushrooms might be. It’s not necessarily trippy for the watcher, but the star of the show – a man made up of hundreds of blended polygons – is certainly having a good time. His hand grops for a pair of glasses, and has he puts them on, he’s transported to a virtual tunnel of light and random objects that gather as they collide with him. That is, until they knock off his glasses. The animation is inventive, definitely different from pretty much anything else going on out there, and the experimental story is one that anyone logged into a virtual world might be able to relate to. Oh, and Paul Lansky’s computer-rendered song “Notjustmoreidlechatter” makes it that much more happy-pill pleasant. What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? An adorable blob (that’s downright Hertzfeldtian) lands on a strange planet with tiny people who all begin trying to jump into shadow. From there, it gets weird. Malcolm Sutherland‘s experimental short is the perfect blend of non-flashy animation and silent story – trying to unravel a few of the universe’s mysteries while managing humor and terror alike. It’s a tough combination, but Sutherland nails it, proving that big ideas and emotions can come from a simply-drawn creature. What will it cost? Only 5 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Holy Motors Leos Carax

Cannes films have a tendency to provoke reaction, with selections chosen for their impact more often than any conventionally commercial appeal, and as a result, responses from those who attend tend to polarize. In that context, it is no surprise that Leos Carax‘s weird and wonderful Holy Motors was chosen to screen In Competition, judging by the number of walk-outs and the final standing ovation. The film follows Mr. Oscar (Denis Lavant), an inexplicable figure who is driven around Paris in a stretch limousine by his chauffeur Celine (Edith Scob), fulfilling “assignments” around the city. The angle is that Mr. Oscar is an actor, and his assignments are characters, each requiring precise and preposterous costumes as he seeks the ultimate performance, in front of invisible characters for an unknown audience. As the film progresses, Mr. Oscar advances through his list of jobs – an old beggar woman, an assassin, a businessman, a father, a dying old man, a deranged, violent monster who eats flowers and kidnaps supermodels – committing himself entirely to the art of character. We are never afforded an insight to who he really is, how he came to be, or even whether there is any reality in any of the situations at all.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? First of all, this is an advertisement, but it’s got to be from a different planet where ads are allowed to look like this. Melting colors and transcendental, drug-addled spoken word spilling out Thompson-esque into a pool of ink that transforms into wild beasts, flowers and a cabin somewhere in the middle of your mind. It’s gorgeous, eyebrow-raising work from String Theory, so try to forget it’s selling you something. Or just hand over your money and run naked into the desert. Either way. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films Thanks to Rory O. for the suggestion.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Space exploration was exhilarating 50 years ago, but even the most mind-exploding stuff about it has become somehow too commonplace. However, videos like this one, where NASA footage falls into the hands of an artist, might just do the trick in convincing a new generation to dream beyond the atmosphere. Forgive the pun, but this is stellar work from Sander van den Berg. What will it cost? Only 2 amazing minutes. Skip Work. You’ve got Time For More Short Films Hat tip to “Little” Jimmy K. for this one.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? More than just a compilation of movie scenes and a narrator who’s seen better, whiskey-filled days, this intriguing film noir from Fabrice Mathieu is a conceptual curiosity. It abstractly tells the story from the perspective of a Shadow who has decided to get rid of its “Wearer” – the meat doll it’s attached to – and Mathieu uses shots of shadows from other films to get the job done. At once, it functions as its own dark animal and as a movie fan’s slideshow through great works. The copyright infringement necessary is…undoubted…but the final product is something mysteriously engaging. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Do you know where your trash from a week ago is? Probably not specifically. We pay a ton of people to deal with it for us – outsourcing a major part of our lives that’s unpleasant. From Lunch to Landfill is not a trenchant, depressing look into that industry like might be expected. It’s a fun, almost whimsical garbage truck ride down to a spot where almost none of us will ever go. Still, even beyond the bouncy song it’s set to, there’s something to think about here. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Borrowing Maurice Ravel‘s most famous work as a backdrop, writer/director Dennis Brucks tells a slow-motion fantasy about a young man living through a terrible home life and a young girl living in the wall who helps him escape. Its pace follows the methodical snare drum smack, and the visuals are bathed in sunlight no matter how golden brown they get. It’s a strong work of wordless storytelling that’s gripping but doesn’t squeeze too tight. What will it cost? Only 15 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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In 1982, Ron Fricke wrote, edited and directed photography for Koyaanisqatsi, a movie that’s become a modern experimental classic that sought to create a pure sensory experience beyond what narrative storytelling could do. It’s the kind of film that audiences have to yield to, letting it wash over them like color-wrapped sound waves, and it seems likely that Samsara will be artistically related to Fricke’s early work. He re-teams here with Mark Magidson to create something that – if the movie delivers on its trailer – has to be seen and heard to be believed. The pair are most known for their work on the short doc Chronos and the feature Baraka, and their style is one that mashes moments together in order to find a sense of meaning. They’re incredibly good at it. Plus, the imagery! It’s amazing. The kind of stuff that steals your heart right out of your chest and makes you wish your whole body were made of eyeballs. See it and marvel:

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Difficult to describe with its unconventional style and strange blend of live-action layered into an antique animation that’s equal parts cut-out and hand-drawn. It’s something like Salvador Dali meets Terry Gilliam. Either way, both would smile to see this. Perhaps the most endearing element is the sound design – done entirely by human voices not-at-all-trying to hide that they’re human voices. It’s definitely different, but it’s beautiful. Plus, there’s a lesson. One taught with the tongue planted so firmly in its cheek that it draws blood. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? The early potential of filmmaking master Christopher Nolan shines through here along with the insanity of a man chasing something around his apartment with his shoes. Written, directed, edited and shot by the man who would go on to genre and blockbusting fame, it’s good to watch on the occasion of him speaking out in defense of 35mm movies and the limitations of 3D. What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Whoa. Wow. Okay. Calming down just a bit, for fans of Rear Window (and who isn’t? Seriously, find me these people who aren’t so we can send them all to a different planet where they can’t bother us), this short film is a thing of movie geek beauty. Jeff Desom is a true geek, because he thought it would be a great idea to reconstruct the courtyard from the Alfred Hitchcock flick in order to follow the events of the film from a static position. Turns out, it was better than a great idea. The execution here is impeccable. What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Rough and uneasy is how director Luca Enrico Canessa likes it in this turgid short about fidelity, marriage and betrayal. With floating inner monologues between lovers, it captures the false nature of their bond and breaks like a bandit into a personal dream. Where reality begins and ends is difficult to say. What will it cost? Only 5 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? This short film from Elise The might be the perfect companion piece to yesterday’s short, “They Come To Get Us.” They’re both pop culture explosions of strikingly different kinds. The latter is a pure overload by numbers, but Synchronize is electric in its ability to use iconic images and twist them in new ways. Using negative imagery, a cut and paste mentality, and a crazed imagination, this short film is stellar work that celebrates the allure and impact of movies. *Note: Some viewers may have to click through to Vimeo and wait a few minutes for it to load as the video is behind some sort of semi-paywall. However, it’s absolutely worth the wait (especially when you can let it load and come back to it later).* What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? To make his latest short, Joseph Ernst took a camera onto a London street. What makes it special, is the camera – a hand-cranked wooden beast that’s rocking 18 frames per second and coming up on its 100th birthday. What he captures is a kind of temperal confusion that seems gimmicky, but still speaks loudly to the films of the past. What we all wouldn’t give for a hi-def camera to take back to the 1920s to see what real life looked like back then. All too often, watching a movie from another era means seeing a time through the lens limitations and imagining things in their sepia-toned saturation instead of how they looked through everyday eyes. Ernst has done the reverse here, and it’s fascinating and funny. What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Good old Chris Gore posted this micro-short up on twitter a while back, and it hit home (probably because of an unexplained fear of public restrooms). In it, a young pair of schoolgirl legs is attacked viciously by a monster who’s called Inky for a reason. It’s little more than a showcase of an interesting practical effect, but it works in a twisted way, and it’s absurdly hilarious for a split second. Or maybe that’s just the fear talking again. It’s outrageous and over-the-top without really showing a single thing. Since it’s this short, it only gets to throw one punch, but it throws it hard. What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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