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Why You Should go to Future Shorts Tonight

Don's miss out on Future Shorts, tonight at Decibel. Our Arts & Culture contributer, Zelda Rudzitsky, caught the first showing last weekend at Snap Cafe. Here's what she though of this month's lineup:  

After a long day at work, I dragged myself across town to Snap Café in District 2, for an evening of art (Creative Shakes) and films screening (Future shorts). The long drive (I live in district 5) was totally worth it.

This was my second time at the Future shorts festival in Saigon. I was really looking forward to it since, not only am I passionate about cinema, but also this is one of the rare chances to get a glimpse of what young and local filmmakers are up to. I have to say that this time around the local short films didn’t impress me as much as the previous festival in April. I found the first two shorts, promoted I guess by a famous local pizza place, too cheesy and with weak plots. I understand that the restaurant in question needs to be advertised, but I would have rather had a more subtle and cleverly thought-out way to hint at it instead of awkwardly showing the logo in the middle of a scene.

From the local programme, the one that I enjoyed the most was “Dawn,” the story of Tye who, one night on the way home, interprets racisms from the look of another man and decides to confront him. In 10 minutes, director and screenwriter Leon Le presents us with an intriguing and surprising scenario that manages to keep the audience wondering what’s going to happen until the end. The story challenges us with our socially inbred preconception of racism and sexuality. This is the first film behind the camera by actor-turned director Leon Le.

From the International programme, I was very impressed by “The whistle” (winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film festival 2013). I always enjoy films that show chunks of ordinary people’s lives. Usually the hardest thing to do when telling these kinds of stories is not falling into stereotypes in order to engage with a broader audience. Director Zariczny avoids this and successfully tells us the realistic, not over the top, moving and heartfelt story of a low football league referee that dreams of a better life. Throughout the narration, you could feel the audience rooting and sympathising for the main character. One of the undeniable pleasures of watching a film in a cinema or at a festival is to feel and share the reactions and emotions of the other spectators, and this film allowed that to happen.

The festival ended with “Whiplash,” probably the most entertaining and accomplished of the bunch. It tells the story of an aspiring drummer (Johnny Simmons - The perks of being a wallflower), who enters an exclusive conservatory jazz orchestra. But the limelight is taken by the superb J.K. Simmons (Thank you for smoking, Spiderman and Juno) who does what he does best: playing a politically incorrect, verbally abusive and frustrated orchestra teacher. The duet between the two characters had the audience laughing at times at the brutality of J.K. Simmons and, simultaneously cringing in solidarity for the humiliated student. There have been talks about the producers wanting to turn it into a feature length film. I am curious to see how they develop the story.

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