Documentary Shorts


I added a shorts package to my repertoire to broaden my horizons. Shorts packages are a bit of a lucky dip. I didn’t read up on what they were, preferring to be surprised. It was an 11am session on a Sunday and today’s a four film day so I knew it was going to be a full day. And I didn’t get time to grab a coffee beforehand. Can you see where I’m going with this?It started well.

Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island used the recorded voices of two men detained on Manus Island and overlaid this with expressionist animation showing what they were talking about. A story like this can’t help but be moving, shocking and full of hopelessness. There is a sense of authenticity, although I could tell that the men were reading lines that they had (hopefully themselves) scripted. The animations were textural enough to immerse us in the feel of the experience, rather than trying to depict reality. It is hard to believe that this inhumanity is being perpetrated by our government.

3 Postcards was three short episodes with narration by the German filmmaker, as if he was reading a postcard that he had written to a loved one. Each episode focused briefly on young people and an issue in three different countries – Palestine, Zambia and Afghanistan. Each seemed worthy but too brief to really engage with much other than the narrator’s voice.

Let’s Dance: Bowie Down Under showcased the making of the Let’s Dance music video in the rural NSW town of Carinda, just east of Bourke, chosen to represent redneck Australia. We learn how Bowie wanted to make a statement about the treatment of Aboriginal people and as this was created near the start of MTV and music video popularity, it gained a lot of airplay. What I found most interesting was that I didn’t pick up on the racial message when I watched it as a privileged 18 year old white girl. It seems so obvious now.

The Nice House. You can’t help but be moved by Rosie Batty. This intimate film was made before she became Australian of the Year and over a period of time when she was first voicing her story in a bid to draw attention to family violence. There were recreations, which are always a bit clunky and in this instance, felt voyeuristic, but it is Rosie who shines, as she recounts her life leading to her son’s death and shows her compassion and resilience.

The Water and the Wall sounded like something I would like. We screened the Belgian film The Kid with a Bike at our film society a couple of years ago and I really liked it. This Swiss documentary is about a woman who takes her foster son to see the film and then records his response to it. She then plays the response to one of the film’s creators, Luc Dardenne, who likes it. Really? An 11 year old likes it and pushes against a wall as he is talking and that is significant? That’s as far as I got.

Hunger got the better of me. I skipped out, missing the last short, The 100 Years Show about artist Carmen Herrera, not because I wasn’t interested but because the thought of fat chips with aioli and a strong latte was too tempting.

Hard to give stars to this one but, as a package…

3 stars

One thought on “Documentary Shorts

  1. Pingback: Day ten – know thy venue | fillums

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