Wasp: The Searing Desperation of a Forsaken Young Mother

Wasp: The Searing Desperation of a Forsaken Young Mother

Through the years, Mother’s Day films have presented moms both good and bad, and Wasp features a most down-on-her-luck mother in contemporary Britain, an unfortunate mom who certainly isn’t going to be winning any Mother of the Year Awards. Wasp is an acclaimed short film directed by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, which won the 2005 Academy Award for Live Action Short Film and the Jury Prize for International Short Filmmaking at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Wasp has been credited as having revived the genre of social realism in British cinema, and this short film has gained the status of a modern classic through Arnold’s sensitive humanistic approach, combined with modern filmmaking techniques.

The film is a searing and intimate portrait of Zoë, a forsaken young woman in contemporary England, who is mired in poverty, but who desperately wants something for herself aside from the oppressive limitations of being a single-mother of four. Despite the responsibility she bears, when a former crush unexpectedly reappears showing his first bit of romantic interest in her, Zoë jumps at the opportunity to go out on a date with him, behaving in painfully irresponsible ways.

On another level, Wasp is a stinging critique of the agonizing worship of the faux-celebrity lives manufactured by today’s pop-media, public relations machines. For Zoë, the Beckhams are the ideal family, the epitome of the fashionably idolized, providing an illusory escape from the harsh realities of her own life. They’re the idealized depiction of a family with three terribly good-looking young sons, a family whose real existence never steps in the way of their living the glamorous life. For Zoë, the Beckhams represent the false pinnacle of desire: never-ending luxury, fashionable motherhood and physical perfection in marriage. But there’s a gut-wrenching sadness to Zoë’s idealized obsession, for she can barely even feed her own children.

It is just phenomenal how much this film gets right; the level of deftness in the writing and presentation is stellar. Having already noted that Wasp has achieved the status of a modern classic, it would be very worthwhile for you to watch this engrossing film. Wasp is a perfect reintroduction to dramatic live-action short films: it is almost mandatory viewing for short film fans. Enjoy.

Wasp: The Searing Desperation of a Forsaken Young Mother

Read more about this film at Short of the Week here.

Please Share This:

Share

Dream of Life: An Elegantly Impressionistic Portrait of Patti Smith

Dream of Life: An Elegantly Impressionistic Portrait of Patti Smith

Patti Smith: Dream of Life, directed and mostly shot by Steven Sebring, is an elegantly impressionistic portrait of the punk godhead, Patti Smith, which was created over a heroic period of 11-years. The film has barely begun before Patti has offered forth a life’s worth of headline news, a strategy that allows Mr. Sebring and Ms. Smith, who is as much a collaborator as a subject, to fill the next 100 or so minutes with fragmented beauty and song.

For the most part, the film is a song of life, alternately joyous and elegiac, warm and vibrantly present, a mosaic of moods and moments from one woman’s richly lived time on earth. Against the odds and other punk rockers’ self-destructive tendencies, Ms. Smith didn’t die young or succumb to the usual rock clichés.

Patti Smith: The Early Years

Patti Smith was born in Chicago in 1948 and grew up in Woodbury, New Jersey. After graduating from high school, Patti did a brief stint as a factory worker, which convinced her to move to New York City to pursue a life in the arts. Soon after her arrival, she connected with the young photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whom she met while working at a book store. This was a close friendship that she maintained until his death in 1989. In 1969 she went to Paris with her sister and started doing performance art. When Smith returned to New York City, she lived in the Chelsea Hotel with Mapplethorpe, and they began frequenting the then fashionable Max’s Kansas City and CBGB nightclubs.

She helped put New York’s punk-rock landmark CBGB on the map. She organized The Patti Smith Group and in 1975 released her debut album, Horses, to critical acclaim. Produced by John Cale, the album was described as an original mixture of exhortatory rock & roll, Smith’s poetry, vocal mannerisms inspired by Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison, and the band’s energetically rudimentary playing. In 1976, Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas oversaw the Patti Smith Group’s second album, Radio Ethiopia, and the result was a more bombastic guitar-heavy record, tempered by the title cut, the height of Smith’s improvised free rock.

Grief and Mourning

After an almost nine-year hiatus, Smith returned to recording with the 1988 album Dream of Life, the work of a more mellow, but still rebellious songwriter. Smith’s comeback album was co-produced by her husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith, with songs that included her call-to-arms, People Have the Power.

Patti Smith: People Have the Power

In 1994, her husband died of a heart attack at age 45. A month later, her younger brother (and former road manager), Todd, also died of a heart attack. Her longtime friend Robert Mapplethorpe had already died of AIDS in 1989. Determined to carry on as a tribute to the encouragement her husband and brother had shown her before their passing, Smith performed a string of opening dates with Bob Dylan in late 1995 and issued the intensely personal Gone Again in 1996. The album offered a potent mix of songs about mourning and rebirth, reflecting Smith’s belief that the beauty of life survives death.

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

But another eight years would pass before her second artistic comeback, marked by a trio of acclaimed albums released in quick succession, which found her fighting her way out of a period of intense personal grief stemming from the loss of several of the most important people in her life. The documentary Patti Smith: Dream of Life premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Dream of Life: An Elegantly Impressionistic Portrait of Patti Smith (Part 1)

Dream of Life: An Elegantly Impressionistic Portrait of Patti Smith (Part 1)

Behind the Lens: Filmmaker Steven Sebring and Patti Smith (PBS Documentary)

Read more about Dream of Life in the New York Times here.

TechnoratiTechnorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Please Share This:

Share

Dr. Breakfast: A Surreal Meditation on the Healing Nature of Friendship

Dr. Breakfast: A Surreal Meditation on the Healing Nature of Friendship

Dr. Breakfast is a bizarrely surreal seven-minute animated short film by Stephen Neary, which has just been announced as an official selection to screen at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. One day at breakfast, Dr. Breakfast’s insatiable soul bursts out of his eyeball and roams the earth, voraciously devouring everything in sight. Two kindly wild deer end up becoming the poor fellow’s caretakers, bathing and dressing the man’s catatonic body. The wacky, heartwarming story ends up being a surreal meditation on the quirky but rejuvenating nature of friendship.

Dr. Breakfast: A Surreal Meditation on the Healing Nature of Friendship

Read more about the film at Short of the Week here.

Please Share This:

Share

Wasp: A Searing Portrait of Poverty and Desperation

Wasp: A Searing Portrait of  Poverty and Desperation

Wasp is an acclaimed short film directed by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, which won the 2005 Academy Award for Live Action Short Film and the Short Filmmaking Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Wasp has been credited as having revived the genre of social realism in British cinema, and this short film has gained the status of a modern classic through Arnold’s sensitive humanistic approach, combined with modern filmmaking techniques.

The film is a searing and intimate portrait of Zoë, a modern young woman in contemporary Britain, who is mired in poverty, but desperately wants something for herself aside from the oppressive limitations of being a single-mother of four. Despite the responsibility she bears, when a former crush unexpectedly resurfaces showing his first bit of romantic interest in her, she takes the opportunity to go out on a date, behaving in agonizingly irresponsible ways.

At another level, Wasp is a stinging critique of the painful worship of the faux-celebrity lives manufactured by today’s public relations pop-media machines. For Zoë, the Beckhams are the ideal, the epitome of the fashionably idolized, providing an illusory escape from the harsh realities of her own life. They’re the idealized depiction of a family with three terribly good-looking young sons, a family whose real existence never steps in the way of their living the glamorous life. For Zoë, the Beckhams represent the false pinnacle of desire: never-ending luxury, fashionable motherhood and physical perfection in marriage. But there’s a gut-wrenching sadness to Zoë’s idealized obsession, for she can barely even feed her own children.

It is just phenomenal how much this film gets right; the level of deftness in the writing and presentation is stellar. Having already noted that Wasp has achieved the status of a modern classic, it behooves you to watch this engrossing film. Wasp is a perfect reintroduction to dramatic live-action short films: it is almost mandatory viewing for short film fans. Enjoy.

Wasp: A Searing Portrait of Poverty and Desperation

Read more about this film at Short of the Week here.

Please Share This:

Share

The Terrys: Finding Love, Saving Grace and the Wooden Puppet-Boy

The Terrys: Finding Love, Saving Grace and the Wooden Puppet-Boy

The Terrys is a short film masterpiece from the comedy duo Tim and Eric, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and also debuted on TV as part of HBO’s Funny or Die Presents television showcase. The film starts out as a wicked spectacle of filth, crudity and perversion, creating indelible images that unfortunately, once viewed, cannot be unseen.

The Terrys are a degenerate couple, infamous as the especially nasty blight of the Dunnersville Trailer Park, who are a violent, drug-addled, sex-crazed, mutually abusive terror of unbridled love/hate. When they aren’t rutting like animals in a drug-induced stupor, they are threatening to kill one another. The two down-and-out losers conceive a child in a fit of drug-induced passion. At first they consider the child an abomination, but then they learn that this “special” child has a special purpose.

The Terrys: Finding Love, Saving Grace and the Wooden Puppet-Boy

Please Share This:

Share

Successful Alcoholics: A Sadly Tragic View of Titular Boozers

Successful Alcoholics: A Sadly Tragic View of Titular Boozers

Successful Alcoholics is a funny, yet very dark short film from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, which was an audience hit at Sundance and SXSW last year.  After playing at Sundance, SXSW, AFI and over 30 other festivals, this is the first time this short film is available online. In the film, a financially-successful young co-dependent couple is drowning in booze and yet still clinging to well-paying jobs. At first their antics seem hilarious, but ultimately their story becomes really heartbreaking.

Successful Alcoholics: A Sadly Tragic View of Titular Boozers

(Best Viewed in HD Full-Scale Mode)

Please Share This:

Share

Andy and Zach: A Heartfelt Film about Friendship

Andy and Zach: A Heartfelt Film about Friendship

Andy and Zach is a deeply touching narrative short film directed by the young New York filmmaker Nick Paley, which was named an Official Selection for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. In the film, two young men are faced with a fairly clear understanding that the ending of their time together as roommates is something that needs to happen. When Zach decides to move out, his roommate Andy awkwardly begins trying to set up a new life without his best friend.

Although each in his own way tries to mask painful feelings about the impending loss of their close friendship, in the face of their sometimes mutually contentious stances a real tenderness shines through, especially as the suave, socially competent Zach begins to worry about Andy, his socially misfit roommate.  In dealing with Andy’s dual feelings of abandonment and annoyance at the infantilizing worrying of Zach, as well as with Zach’s recognition of his need to move out, while still caring for Andy, the film beautifully and subtly depicts the ending of a particularly empathic kind of relationship.

Andy and Zach: A Heartfelt Film about Friendship

Please Share This:

Share

%d bloggers like this: