Short films are under-appreciated form of cinematic entertainment. Often advertised in trailers and movie theatres, short films provide simple, key messages. They can range from comedy sketches to mockumentaries, but they are all light-hearted and simple. Here are a few favourites.
A black and white animated short, this story tells the tale of two urban office workers who fancy each other. The setting could be 1940’s Boston due to the mise-en-scene, with the scene at the train station, sepia filter, props in the office such as a filing cabinet, and pin curls of the protagonist’s love interest, Meg. The young man is an accountant named George, and the main point of the film is trying to get her to notice him with paper airplanes. The narrative structure is reminiscent of A Brief Encounter, and the train station could be a vague allusion to the film.
2. The Blue Umbrella
Yet another romance, two umbrellas fall in love. Produced by Pixar, this endearing story allows the paths of two young lovers to cross. Chasing after each other in a busy city, the blue umbrella won’t let his soulmate be a flash in the pan. The two umbrellas are eventually reunited when their owners go into a coffee shop.
3. Creature comforts
An original stop motion film, Creature Comforts is a parody of zoo animals. Directed by Nick Park, the piece retains his original elements of ordinary, somewhat working class life portrayal. Set up as mockumentary, different creatures are interviewed about their living environments. Some of the animals are happy with their living conditions, some are dissatisfied and some feel neutral. Topics such as going to doctor’s, sleep patterns, gardening, the possibility of alien life, foreigners living in Britain and the fear of the sea. Displaying a wide variety of English accents in the short, these delightful clips show how wonderfully British the people of the UK are.
4. Stick Man
It wouldn’t feel quite the same without having a children’s short on here. A stick family live inside a tree, and the father sets out on an adventure to be back in time for Christmas. The family tree is quite symbolic of the classic “voyage and return” story with a quest. The stickman seeks out help from various characters in the park to find his way back home, and is eventually reunited with his family. Some National Trust forests even created a Stickman trail, to encourage families to get out in the wildlife.
A short film following an Australian woman about to go on a date, this is about how women are influenced by the media about their body image. When she digs her nails into her forehead, there are marks left.As the woman tries to erase the marks, she then learns her skin is pliable. The woman takes her inspiration from a fashion magazine, to shape herself into the perfect woman. The result, however, is horribly distorted as the woman’s body parts are exaggerated.
An Indie film, porcelain is about children’s dolls. Produced by White Alchemy, the main theme of the plot is about how young women still act like young girls. The protagonist holds tea parties, writes in her diary and preens her porcelain doll. The next morning, she finds the doll alive, with glowing red eyes. When the doll comes alive, the young woman takes on a maternal role by dancing with the doll and allowing it to write in her journal. Upon reading the young woman’s journal entry of an unseen young man she loves, the doll becomes jealous, scribbling out the words, and instead writing “MY MAMA”. The protagonist puts the doll in a toy chest. The woman grows wary of all her dolls in the apartment, carrying an axe, and the film ends driving herself insane, crying.
What’s your favourite short film? Share it in the comments below!