Okay, I know I said I was going to be posting a follow-up to Thursday’s column on the Public Domain status of the John Wayne movie McLintock! today, but to be honest, it’s more complex than you might think, and since part of the reason for shifting things around here was to give myself the time to go as in-depth as I really want to on some of these issues rather than simply post something because it’s time to, I’ve decided to put that off for a couple of days so I can do it properly.
However, rather than not give you anything today, I’ve decided to go ahead start up one of the new “occasional” features that I’m bringing to the blog.
Short films, when they’re done right, can truly be some of the most interesting works out there. The key to that sentence, though, is “when they’re done right”. All too often, however, it can seem like the film makers behind shorts simply have a scene or two that they have fallen in love with and that they want to put on film, but they forget that no matter the length or limitations they are working within, they still need to tell a full story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Otherwise, well, you haven’t really made a film, have you? You’ve just shot a scene or a series of images.
(Unless, I suppose, you’re trying to go for a surrealist vibe or something like that, but those films are a case unto themselves.)
So what I want to do here is spotlight some of those films that I think do get it right, and that, since most theaters don’t show shorts ahead of features anymore, unless you’re specifically looking for them, you most likely won’t see.
Now, I’ll admit that you could accuse me of stacking the deck by starting off with this one, since not only is it animated (which actually, I think, lends itself just a bit more to the short film), but it was nominated for an Academy Award (yes, there are actually three short-film categories that receive Oscars – Animated, Live-Action, and Documentary – and, even more interestingly, they are one of the few categories that allow international entries, which, given the fact that Hollywood has forgotten how to make a movie under 3 hours and 47 minutes is probably a necessity), but even given that, I’m still willing to bet that most of you out there haven’t seem it.
Animal Behaviour is a 2018 short film from Canada, written and directed by directed by Alison Snowden and David Fine. Its cast includes Ryan Beil as Dr. Clement, Taz VanRassel as Victor the ape, Leah Juel as Lorraine the leech, Andrea Libman as Cheryl the mantis, Toby Berner as Todd the pig, James Kirk as Jeffrey the bird, and Snowden herself as Linda the cat. It has a total run time of just over 14 minutes.
Which means, you can watch the whole thing below in probably less time that it took you to read this blathery introduction.