Fargo Film Festival 2014: Thursday Afternoon Favorite Picks

Another afternoon of all-access to the Fargo Film Festival brought on yet another round of short films. There was a great mixture to be had, from a relationship seen from the view of a computer screen (Noah) to a story about robots being replaced by humans (Shelved).

Here’s the ones I liked the most and the least.

My favorite: A Good Wife

A Good Wife is a short documentary about the struggles of rural Indian women in the Sundarban islands who live in a conservative, patriarchal society. In interviews with the women and their families, womens’ marginalized role in arranged marriages is revealed, where dowries are demanded and domestic violence is a reality. How can these women fulfill their own lives and still be “a good wife?”

There is no clear answer.

As I’ve stated in other blog posts, feminist issues interest me immensely. Looking at an entirely different patriarchal culture was incredibly interesting.

Second favorite: Noah

Told entirely from the perspective of one teenage boy’s computer screen, “Noah” follows a breakup through the lens of Facebook, Skype and Chatroulette.

A little crude (definitely NSFW during the Chatroulette part), but an accurate portrayal of how modern teenagers forge, maintain, and end relationships. I was surprisingly invested. (“Don’t click that link, Noah!”)

Moral of the story: Don’t go on Chatroulette.

Get used to this, people. This is basically the whole movie.

My least favorite: Postface

Admittedly, this one was on my list of shorts I definitely wanted to catch at the festival. The synopsis was enough to pull me in:

“In a celebrity-obsessed culture, filmmakers often exploit the downfall of a star to amplify the emotional undertones of the fictional films in which they perform. POSTFACE takes a look back at the filmography of Montgomery Clift whose private life and career spiral downward after a 1956 car crash that left his face scarred and partially paralyzed.
Like an actor without a face, the video is an exploration of obsolescence, produced by means of analog tape manipulations.”

Instead of being an “exploration of obsolescece,” this felt more like an exploration of intentionally shaky editing and the emotion of confusion. I’m not quite sure what the message was. The audience I was with clapped perplexedly at the end of Postface…maybe no one wanted to admit that they didn’t know what had just happened. Check it out for yourself:

Perhaps I’m not cultured enough to appreciate a short film good enough to make it into the festival. I think what really threw me off was the editing: pixelation and jumpiness on every frame, never a clear picture, never an explanation of who Montgomery Clift was or what he looked like after his car accident. It felt like watching my Youtube video buffer with a faulty internet connection for seven minutes.