Cine Las Americas 16 Reviews: Narrative/Panorama Shorts

By Mark Saldana

One the things I really like about Cine Las Americas is the fact that before most feature films, they present one of the shorts submitted to the festival.  Because  my coverage involves mostly feature length films at festivals, I rarely get the opportunity to view shorts showcases.  This year I was able to review four short films which were screened prior to some of the feature films I reviewed.  Here are some brief reviews of the films I saw.

REVIENS MOI/RETURN TO ME

3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

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From U.S.A., director Tracy Rector tells a beautiful and romantic story of a young man reflecting on an all too brief childhood love in France. Now living in Seattle, the man yearns to be reunited with her once again. This 8 minute short does accomplish quite a bit in its short runtime, but also can be a bit disorienting when switching from past to present and vice-versa. Nevertheless, the film is a lovely and sweet portrait of first love that Rector paints gorgeously with the camera.

 

LAS MANANITAS

3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

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Another submission from the U.S., director Gabriella Moses tells an all too familiar tale, especially in Hispanic and Latino cultures. Her main character Ana Isabel is a teen girl growing up in the 1960s about to celebrate her Quinceanera.  Her boyfriend has been pressuring her to lose her virginity, but an appearance by the Virgin Mary on a food item makes her consider otherwise. This cute and amusing short is a great example of the type of more personal stories from one’s ethnic background and heritage that Valente Rodriguez wants to see from young aspiring filmmakers. (See my interview w/Rodriguez).  Moses shows a genuine talent for directing with this short.  I hope to see more from her as she develops her craft even more.

 

ZOMBI

4 (Out of 4 Stars)

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This hilarious short from Spain won the Jury Award for Best Short film at the festival. This adorably lovely and heartbreaking film by director David Moreno tells the story of an elderly grandfather who is ready to die with dignity. He is done living like a zombie, and is ready to check out. Even though the premise sounds quite morbid, Moreno does an excellent job of putting a funny and more light-hearted spin on death. He assembles an equally excellent cast to make a film that deserves mass quantities of awards.

 

A RED GIRL’S RECKONING

4 (Out of 4 Stars)

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From Canada, Native American director Elle-Maija Tailfeathers brings a film which could easily play as an extended trailer to an awesomely badass action flick. Actually,  I am hoping that her film serves as a springboard to launch a feature-length film.  Tailfeathers tells the tale of a Native American vigilante who seeks retribution for women victimized by male predators. After surviving a sexual assault and having become disillusioned with a failed justice system, the motorcycle riding “Red Girl” decides to take the law in her own hands.  This superb film short left me wanting so much more!  That is why I would love to see Elle-Maija Tailfeathers get the recognition she deserves for this great film.  With the right attention and some generous funding, she could turn this short into an amazing feature.

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