Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Screening Room

A piece in the local newspaper alerted me to a new area of You Tube called The Screening Room, where short movies are able to be viewed.

Short movies used to be a staple of going to the pictures when I was young, but somewhere along the line distributors decided that they didn’t make enough money and that short movies got in the way of the big movies (which started to stretch out to fill up the space left by the lack of short movies, and so the distributors weren’t actually any better off).

But people kept on making short movies. After all, not every story is a full length movie, and some are perfect in their shortness.

So I checked out the Screening Room, and have just watched a charming animated movie called The Danish Poet. The film asks if we can trace the chain of events that leads to our birth? Is our existence just coincidence? Interestingly enough, the other night my grandson asked where he’d been before he was born (he meant before he was conceived even, or as he put it, before he was a seed). The movie starts off with the narrator (Liv Ullman, of Ingmar Bergman films fame) suggesting that she was just a seed floating around space needing to find a home.

The film then goes on to show how a succession of events, all small and unimportant in the scheme of things, finally bring this seed ‘home’ as the child born of a particular set of parents.

It’s delightfully done, and worth watching more than once – it’s only 15 minutes long. (A few other movies could do with being as short).

When we lived in our previous house, our neighbour’s daughter grew up to become a short film maker – we saw her name on a documentary that was showing on TV last night, in fact. She’s not famous – I don’t suspect many short film makers are – but she is doing something she loves. And probably living on the smell of an oily rag.

The Danish Poet is directed by Torill Kove, and won the 2007 Academy Award for Animated Short.

The only thing about watching movies on a computer is that things aren't set up so well: no comfy chair, no plasma tv mount, no nothing to make it feel like a movie. Not to worry, this particular movie is captivating enough on its own.

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