As part of the Glasgow Short Film Festival 2018
This year, the Glasgow Short Film Festival is presenting two screenings in a strand called Round Midnight. The first is a selection of films that looks at sex and the second has a focus on violence; two very important subject matters which continue to influence filmmakers and engage audiences.
The first short as part of Round Midnight 1: Sex is Umbilical Glue from director Bryan M. Ferguson. Here we view a young woman who is obsessed with her navel and comes into contact with a gang who have similar interests. Umbilical Glue is a stylish short and feels like it is the start of a bigger story.
Hot Winter: A Film by Dick Pierre is the second short in the programme. This 18-minute film from 2016 is directed by Jack Henry Robbins where a porno flick from the 1980s seems to have predicted climate change. Here we see a movie made to look like an old VHS tape and it is a hilarious experience, as clunky dialogue, bad acting and terrible direction give an alternative view of the terrors of climate change.
Rough by Paul McGinness is more of a tragic romantic comedy as opposed to a short, which takes a look at sex. Here a dejected and despairing man tries to get back with his girlfriend by looking after her dog. Six God Alphabet Peter is a surreal animation by Peter Millard, but seems to have little to do with the topic of tonight’s screening. A series of strange characters torment the off-screen filmmaker and force him to learn the alphabet to the point of insanity. Bizarre behaviour is a theme that carries through to Shadow Animals (directed by Jerry Carlsson) but this time the tone is more muted and dreamlike. A young girl is exposed to the strange and eccentric actions of adults at a dinner party. Here choreography and physical movement reveal the strange world that the film presents. Aesthetically the film looks exceptional, with muted greens and browns bestowing a bizarre and claustrophobic environment. Call of Cuteness by Brenda Lien picks up on the peculiar animation strand and shows a series of cats getting up to strange activities.
The final film in the selection is a glorious masterpiece from director Yann Gonzalez. Islands begins with two lovers engaging in a cliched and somewhat tacky representation of sex, with long pondering shots, slow motion and overbearing music. This is then interrupted when a knife-wielding maniac enters the scene and we are now viewing sex as a violent act. Again this is another cliché; however, this is subverted when the monster is invited to participate in a threesome. This act is again subverted when the perspective is changed and we realise the actions were part of a stage play. We follow two characters within the audience where we are presented with the idea of the voyeur, cruising, public sex and masturbation. Islands is explicit, comedic and invites the viewer to indulge itself in the pretension that is being depicted on screen. It is a sex-positive movie that looks at the grotesque and uses the language of pornography in inventive ways.