Double Happy: The Anatomy of a Tragic Screw-Up

Double Happy: The Anatomy of a Tragic Screw-Up

Double Happy is an unusually observant short film written and directed by the young New Zealand filmmaker Shahir Daud, which has been selected for presentation at the Montreal International Film Festival, HOF Film Festival (Germany), Interfilm (Berlin), CFC Film Festival (Canada), Winterthur Film Festival (Switzerland), and Show Me Shorts (New Zealand).

A film of rare quality and power, Double Happy is a lovely film to look at and it possesses a high level of technical excellence. At its heart, the film is a character drama, relying on expertly presented profiles to build its story, showing, rather than telling, the essential details about its characters in order to relate their motivations. Finally, it displays a subtlety and patience in unfolding its drama, only to upend you at the climax in a shocking fashion.

Double Happy presents a detailed look at the inevitable emergence of a huge social fuck-up, the slow buildup to the moment you eternally wish you could take back. It’s been said that almost all extremely terrible, destructive actions have their origins in positive desires, and in this simple drama about four New Zealand teenagers in tne 1990s, we are, in a very shocking fashion, made witness to that truism.

If there is one particular feature that makes Double Happy stand out, it would be that it is an unusually observant film about young people, their shy gestures and bold dares, as well as the sometimes very strange characteristics of their group dynamics; the constantly fluid shifting of in-group and out-group designations achieved and enforced through secrets and put-downs. At this age, one discovers that even when you care, you can end up trampling on one another out of simple inexperience, fear and carelessness. Double Happy paints an impressively clear and nuanced picture in which the emotional and physical denigration of its protagonist slowly builds, causing his anger to mount and ultimately leading to its tragic misdirection.

Double Happy: The Anatomy of a Tragic Screw-Up

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The Animals are Outside Today

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Mold-A-Rama Dinosaur with Ruth

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Sleeping Lion

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Daniel’s Lions

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Horseback

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Amish Horses

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Circus Elephant

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Nungesser Elephant

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Bird Hat

The Animals are Outside Today

Photography by: Colleen Plumb, Chicago

Animals are Outside Today is a fascinating collection of photographs by the Chicago photographer Colleen Plumb. Plumb’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography; the Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago; and the Beijing Natural Cultural Center in China. Her photographs are part of the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Chicago Project at Catherine Edelman Gallery. Recent exhibitions have included shows at the Jen Bekman Gallery in New York City; group shows at Santa Monica Art Studios, California; Humble Arts Foundation, New York City; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago; Chicago Cultural Center; and the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington D.C.

Plumb describes Animals Are Outside Today as a visual journey offering us the chance to contemplate our intersections with animals and to consider the multi-layered impact that humans have on other living beings. According to Plumb, “Contradictions define our relationships with animals. We love and admire them; we are entertained and fascinated by them; we take our children to watch and learn about them. Animals are embedded within core human history, evident in our stories, rituals and symbols. At the same time, we eat, wear and cage them with seeming indifference, consuming them, and their images, in countless ways.”

Our relationships with animals today are often developed through assimilation and appropriation; we absorb them into our lives, yet no longer know of their origin. Most people are cut off from the steps involved in their processing or acquisition, shielded from witnessing their death or decay. This series of photographs moves within and between these contradictions, questioning whether the notion of the sacred and primal connection to Nature that animals convey and inspire will survive alongside our evolution.

Who Does She Think She Is?

Photo-Gallery: The Animals are Outside Today

(Please Click Image to View Photo-Gallery)

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