Short Reviews of Short Films
Tribes (courtesy photo)
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival served up a ton of short films on a variety of topics so we've provided some short reviews.
Tribes depict three characters who attempt to rob a subway wagon but struggle who deciding who to rob. One is an African American man, one is an Arab-American man, and one is a white American man and they all argue over self-identity refusing to rob their "own people" and divide the group into cultural and economic subgroups. The film turns comical as they divide the diverse group of subway riders into differing sections finding that everyone self-identifies in a different way, even the robbers. At one point they divide people into cat lovers and dog lovers. The short film is a social commentary that uses satire to spur a conversation about diversity, identity, and inclusion. Something we could all benefit from.
Mochitsuki: Celebrating the Japanese New Year
Directed by Sky Bergman
We absolutely loved this short film. It focuses on the annual Japanese tradition of Mochitsuki, the making of very delicious mochi and follows the Eto family in San Luis Obispo. We had no idea how much energy and ritual was placed into the production but within four minutes this film captures the love and connectedness this community has with a bond over food. It's heartwarming to see the older generations pass down traditions so they will continue on. Very heartwarming and well worth your time.
Directed by Farzaneh Omidvarnia
Song Sparrow is a very creative animated film that uses puppets to share the harrowing story of refugees being smuggled in a truck carrying meat while they fight for survival among freezing temperatures. Using puppets is a smart way to convey the horrors refugees face on a daily basis and what they're willing to sacrifice for an ounce of freedom. While hard to watch at times, the overall impact and message of this film is important.
A Cohort of Guests
Based on a true story, this film breaks down the barriers between guests and intruders in a gripping depiction of a simple backyard gathering. Starring some well-known actors in current television dramas, the film makes you question what would happen if you choose to embrace someone perceived as a threat. The full film is available to view above.
Directed by Keith Powell
We're not sure how to categorize this one but it's entertaining. Part thriller, part drama, sprinkled in with some comedy it follows a building manager with a sketchy past and present who's grieving a significant loss. One of his residents asks him to do the unthinkable during her daughter’s quinceañera. It's equally clever and disturbing.