In support of the enduring impact of shorts on the cinematic experience and to commemorate National Short Film Day on Dec. 28, streaming service Film Movement Plus will offer a special program featuring nine new short films, all exclusive to the service.
Film Movement in 2019 officially coined Dec. 28 National Short Film Day, registering the now annual observance with the National Day Calendar. It commemorates the date in Paris in 1895 when the pioneering Lumière brothers projected a program of short films to a public audience for the very first time.
On Dec. 28, Film Movement Plus will offer viewers the opportunity to stream four exclusive shorts for free: Desaturated, Haute Cuisine, Seven Boats and The Binding of Itzik. The films will be live only for that day, and can be found at https://www.filmmovementplus.
- Desaturated (directed by Marina Stepanska, Ukraine, Ukrainian with English subtitles, 10 minutes) is a colorful satire of life and cinema in which a young woman finds herself caught in an existential and aesthetic crisis.
- In Haute Cuisine (directed by Merryl Roche, France, French with English subtitles, 24 minutes), while toiling away in the highly competitive kitchen of a top-rated restaurant, Marie (Joséphine Japy) inadvertently discovers a strange new ingredient that wins her the admiration of the chef but with frightening consequences.
- In Seven Boats (directed by Hlynur Pálmason, Iceland, no dialogue, 10 minutes), while in a desperate fight for his life, a man stranded alone on the sea is surrounded by seven boats. Palmason also directed the Cannes Critic’s Week award-winner A White, White Day.
- The Binding of Itzik (directed by Anika Benkov, U.S., English, 18 minutes) follows a middle-aged Hasidic bookbinder who gets more than he bargained for when he answers a Craigslist ad. The film won the Film Movement Award at San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2021.
Among the other films highlighting National Short Film Day are five shorts from the 2022 New York African Film Festival.
- Notre Memoire (director Johanna Makabi, France, 2021, French with English subtitles, 12 minutes) spotlights Mbissine Thérèse Diop, who played the starring role in Ousmane Sembène’s landmark first feature, 1966’s Black Girl (La Noire de …), as she looks back on her experience as a Black actress in the 1960s.
- In Ukuhlolwa Kwephupha/A Dream Deciphered (director Hlumela Matika, South Africa, no dialogue, 7 minutes), a woman asleep begins to dream a dream that distorts her perception of time and space in relation to her mundane daily tasks — an illusion that evokes a surreal experience of the self.
- Mier/The Ant (director Oliver North, South Africa, 2021, English and Afrikaans with English Subtitles, 27 minutes) follows two days in the lives of Oupa, a San hunter/gatherer who lives in the desert, and Boetie, a “colored” boy from a nearby settlement to which his people were relocated. Boetie is struggling with his own inner demons when he meets the older man, who shares his traditional values with the stubborn and proud youngster. Over the course of the story, viewers find out that they are hunting on this land illegally and that they have more in common than either would suspect.
- Algo-Rhythm (director Manu Luksch, 2019, Austria, Senegal and U.K., English, French, Wolof, and German with English Subtitles, 14 minutes) was shot in Dakar with the participation of leading Senegalese musicians, poets and graffiti artists. It probes the rise in the algorithmic management of daily life and the insidious threats it poses to human rights and agency. Using hip-hop, drama, street art and data-driven filmmaking, Luksch’s film explores how our embrace of machine intelligence, refracted through the slick interfaces of smartphone apps, makes us vulnerable to manipulation by political actors.
- In Egungun/Masquerade (director Olive Nwosu, 2021, Nigeria and U.K., English and Yorube with English Subtitles, 14 minutes), Salewa must return home for her mother’s funeral to Lagos, a place where she once had to hide herself. At the funeral, she runs into an important person from her past, and is forced to go in search of her own peace. The film is a meditation on home, memory and identity — on the many versions of ourselves that haunt us.
Film Movement Plus, currently available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, mobile (iOS and Android), Chromecast and most Samsung smart TVs, offers consumers access to more than 400 festival favorite feature films and 100 short films. The SVOD service is $5.99 per month with a free 14-day trial.