Irish Short Films 2013
By Jeffrey Kieviet
So after a week in Ireland I have many great tales to tell. Hunting leprechauns at the National Leprechaun Museum, Guinness Storehouse, and Jameson Distillery; hearing the folklore of fairies and leprechauns on a traveling bus tour (a bus with kegs of beer!), or drinking with leprechauns at pubs, drinking til we shut down the clubs, and then wandering around town in drunken discussions about philosophy and life. Leprechauns are a very proud folk who have high regard for their place in the world, but this particular leprechaun puked halfway through his shot of vodka like a leprechaun pansy, while I was able to keep far too much fire water down in me belly. The next morning when I woke up at 3 in the afternoon, I had one hell of a terrible leprechaun hangover. Those tricky bastards. But we’ll get to all those stories once I have a week or so to collect my thoughts and flush the copious amounts of booze and leprechaun gold out of my liver. For now, let’s go with the first part of my nineteen-part series of Ireland: the movies they had on the airplane!
A Different Perspective
Directed by Chris O’Hara
This cute little animated short was basically a black and white cartoon about a stick-figure alien who lands next to some guy’s cottage in the hills of Ireland, and the man’s dog figures the best way to deal with an alien is to bark relentlessly. Kind of like crying babies on a plane. C’mon people, some of us don’t have babies specifically because we don’t want to be trapped in an enclosed space for hours of horrific screeching. Anyway, the film plays very 2-dimensional, so when the alien picks up the crying baby — I mean, barking dog — and places him on the top of the hill in the background, the dog doesn’t get any smaller, like it would if the titular perspective was 3D. But the the dog runs through the hills, runs off screen, and when it comes back it’s huge and growling at the alien. That’s it, the whole gimmick/content of the film. They do a couple other things where the characters get larger or smaller by playing around with 2D & 3D perspective. A… Different… Perspective, as it were.
Directed by Darren Thornton
We’ve all seen movies about down-on-their-luck crackheads who are trying to turn their lives around and be good parents to their children, right? But Lorna’s story has a wicked little twist at the end and since the only way you’ll probably ever get a hold of any of these flicks is if you take a flight on Aer Lingus in the next couple months, I don’t feel bad for spoiling the ending. This short was the longest by far at 17 minutes, so at the start we learn that Lorna’s baby-daddy is being released from prison. She wants to see him, she doesn’t want to see him, she tries to get other guys to replace him, she turns back to the crack pipe, and then he finds her in a crack den and brings her home, only to tell her he’s leaving and won’t be back. Sad tale, but well done, some beautifully sad imagery and with little dialogue, most of the story is told through the emotion in Lorna’s pale blue eyes. But the twist is, her baby-daddy is probably her brother. She never outright admits it, but when her crack dealer questions her about it her eyes say “yes.” It’s like if Jamie and Cerci Lanister were Irish crack heads instead of Game of Thrones royalty. Side note: in Ireland, “crack” also means “fun.” Like that was a great crack means that was a good time. That isn’t the kind of crack Lorna and her brother-baby-daddy are smoking.
Irish Folk Furniture
Directed by Tony Donoghue
A stop-motion documentary about restoring old furniture in a small Irish village. Not the most thrilling thing in the world, but at 8 minutes there are worse ways you could spend your time. The filmmaker interviewed both people who have had items restored, as well as the guys doing the restoration, and the audio of these interviews plays over the furniture moving about town and being fixed and painted in stop-motion, not claymation or anything like that. I think it was just something to try to add a little style to a somewhat boring (also nostalgic and heartfelt) topic. But there are people sitting by the chairs and chickens running into houses all in stop-motion, so I’m guessing they filmed the whole thing, and then just removed a bunch of frames to make it resemble the UK favorite, Wallace and Grommet. Is that… Is that kind of racist? Yes, yes it is. The UK love cheese and super smart dogs.
Directed by Luke McManus
This one was my favorite. I love a dark comedy and this one definitely took a shot in the dark. Tommy is an elderly gentleman who is just enjoying a lovely gathering of old people at a park, one of these people being some hot-old-widow tang. Hey, grandma’s need the D sometimes too. Tomorrow is her birthday and he wants to bake her a lovely homemade cake. But on his way home, 3 “feral teenage girls” (directly quoted from the Aer Lingus description) follow him home and mess with him and start a fire in his trashcan and throw burning bags of poo through the mailslot, all because he wouldn’t give them a spare fag. Which means extra cigarette before you get your panties in a bunch. I’m looking at you Bill! Anyway, Tommy makes this beautiful chocolate cake topped with stars and a cherry, wraps it in a lovely box and heads out to meet his GMILF (grandmother I’d like to–) for her birthday when these lady-hooligans steal his cake and beat the shit out of him. Now, I’m assuming he’s going to go home, bake another cake full of dynamite and get sweet, sweet revenge on these little hussies, but our boy Tommy is 3 steps ahead of me. As the she-bitches tear into his cake, we cut back to him at home putting away the ingredients, the last of which is chocolate rat poison, because I guess Irish rats have a thing for chocolate (who doesn’t). We pan back over the feral teenage girls who lay dead on a pile of garbage, and Tommy goes to have tea with his woman and pop a Viagra. Good for you, Tommy. Also worth noting, the leader of the pack of wild women was the same actress who played Lorna in Two Hearts. Good for her, I hope she’s like the independent Irish Emma Stone and ends up playing Mary-Jane in Spider-Man vs the Leprechaun.
Fear of Flying
Directed by Conor Finnegan
Last but not least, another stop-motion short, although this one is definitely more Wallace and Grommet. Although I’m pretty surprised what they can get away with in kids movies. When the snow starts falling and the birds are gonna leave for the winter, one of them says “Let’s get the flock out of here.” With the Irish accent, it took me a second before I realized what he’d actually said. This story follows Dougal, an anthropomorphic bird who’s afraid to fly, but is determined to get south to be with the pretty lady bird he saw getting drunk in a bikini in Cancun. So after trekking through the snow for days he finally finds a plane with a bunch of squirrels and makes it to his lady love. She, of course, wants to go swimming, and based on that look on poor Dougal’s face, he’s just as scared of swimming as he is flying. I’m underplaying the humor with sarcasm, but these were 10 pretty funny minutes.
All in all, I’d recommend checking these out if you can find ’em anywhere. I don’t know if these sort of things ever make it to the Academy Awards because I’ve never actually seen any of the films nominated for best short, but I hope they all win.
Now to check out The Lone Ranger and see if it’s as bad as everyone said it was…
And it is. Shame on everyone involved in that cluster-flock of a film. Skip the 2 1/2 hours of horrendous nothing and check out these shorts instead. Thank you 😉