The winners of the 2016 awards all told the kind of story that seems uniquely suited to the short film format: a single solitary figure, a glimpse into a neglected life.
“Maybe the woman-child is a symptom of women’s dissatisfaction and disappointment after empty promises of power and ‘having it all’; maybe she’s a symptom of general millennial discontent and disaffection. Or maybe she’s a symptom of nothing at all but the gradual realisation that women, too, are full and multifaceted human beings who can sometimes be irresponsible dickheads.”
“The thing about a film like Into the Wild is that it doesn’t even really notice it’s a film about a man, about maleness, about the kind of self-mythologising adventures men have always written about; it regards itself, to an extent, as a universal story about timeless struggles between Man and Nature and Society. A film like Wild, though, cannot evade its own specificity.”
Features and reviews of some of this year’s events, exploring gender, dance, imprisonment, and darkly comic surrealism.
“Inside Out and Song of the Sea are both films that handle human emotions deftly and approach mental health with tact and intelligence, but taken together they’re also a reminder that, from the shores of old Irish mythology to the kitchens of contemporary San Francisco, family relationships (at least those of the traditional heterosexual marriage-and-kids variety) remain constrained by old assumptions about what women’s and men’s minds look like.”
“Ex Machina isn’t just your standard cautionary tale about the dangers of playing god, but specifically a story about the toxicity of male power. It pointedly literalises the meaning of ‘objectification’ in the physical construction of female bodies; all its women are artificial things built by Nathan, and the film is harshly critical of their exploitation. But as a film in which two men talk and act while the feminine mainly exists as a visual feast, it walks a tightrope between critiquing misogyny and enacting it.”