Future Shorts’ international film night is a thoroughly engaging alternative to spending the night at your local multiplex. There is a fully stocked bar at hand, candlelit tables and some high quality short films to watch at your leisure.
However, the lack of support for this particular event was starkly evident and unfortunately had a dampening effect on the atmosphere. The Arches, with its superb architectural interior and alternative crowd should have been the perfect setting for this evening, but it was not. The great arch swamped the twenty or so people that had hesitantly come along and the edgy crowd, though sufficiently edgy, was barely there.
The event soldiered on despite this wavering atmosphere. Lights in the Dark, a local initiative that promotes short film directors, accompanied Future Shorts for this event, starting the evening with some dark, original films.
These films performed well alone but the heaviness to each of them, when shown back-to-back made for a rather intense experience. Nonetheless each film presented an idea that challenged the norm, often by using black comedy. One film featured a world terrorised by dachshunds and warmed up the audience considerably. Another canine creation, Dog’s Dinner, produced by Jule De Rozite, stood out from the rest with its surreal and innovative story, a tale of a man with a rather unsettling fetish for flesh.
Following on from the challenging local films of Lights in the Dark, Future Shorts’ selection is immediately more accessible and the chosen films are uniformly exceptional.
City of Cranes, directed by Eva Weber, is the first of the international films and a particularly strong start to the proceedings. This film presents a unique opportunity to look at London from the eyes of the city’s crane drivers, a subject which is neatly evocative of the evening’s theme, Beats from Above. Each shot is considered to perfection, offering the audience a glimpse into an exclusive and undiscovered world.
There is a poetic subtlety to this production, from the compositional images and soft music, to the insightful narrative accompaniment from the crane operators themselves.
City of Cranes is followed by Bathtub IV, a time-lapse film directed by Keith Loutit. This is a warmhearted story of a helicopter sea rescue in Sydney, and seamlessly continues the tone of the previous film.
The order of the international films is masterful, and the line-up is captivating in its variety. The audience is lulled into a sense of calm by City of Cranes and Bathtub IV, which is then shattered by the Romain Gavras’ startlingly aggressive work, Stress.
This film, accompanied perfectly by a high-octane track from Justice, follows a Parisian gang causing chaos across the city. Each of this array of international films earns every second of the few minutes they occupy.
It is disappointing that a night of such quality can fall so flat here in Glasgow, a city renowned for being artistically appreciative. Once people catch on to this pioneering event, maybe Future Shorts will enjoy the support it clearly deserves.