The Aesthetica Short Film Festival simultaneously unites and juxtaposes York’s latest cultural advances with its historic charm; striding from Reel to New Schoolhouse Gallery to 1331 to City Screen, I got to see the best of York and the best of up and coming filmmaking.
In the panel discussion with director of Ting Dong, Minoru Takeuchi, and programmer of Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, Aki Isoyama, we were informed that the aim of the Japanese screening was to “show the Japanese culture in Japanese short film”. A Butterfly on Her Breast effectively explores the hierarchies in society and the impact of divorce from the perspective of a young and troubled girl; father-daughter bonds are presented in Empty House and Koyuki’s Wandering Football, the former grave and wistful, the latter heart warming and humorous; the animation Hashi No Mukou – under the murkiest of filters – reflects on war and its underground horrors; and a dying art and advertising form is documented in all its colour and pomp in Ting Dong. The screening gave a great insight into everyday and abstract Japan. Ting Dong in particular solicits reflections of the representation of Japan: in placing the Ting Dongers in their traditional dress and make up along side the bemused Japanese public in their t shirts and jeans, Takeuchi and Hiroshi Kuboyama explore ideas of Japan in a questioning and engaging way.
The Missing Scarf, The Palace, and Dipendenza stood out from Screening 4 as great pieces of animation and filmmaking. The Missing Scarf ponders questions of the universe and is fittingly and excellently narrated by George Takei. Eoin Duffy’s short film is funny, fashionable, and fluid. The Palace reminded me of the music video to Keane’s ‘Bedshaped’, it is similarly dark and unrelenting. The stop motion capture is beautifully intricate and the score by Chris Roe is sublimely affecting. Dipendenza is a masterpiece of a short film: it explores ideas of masculinity and the need for love in the most astute, artistic and original way.
Walking into New Schoolhouse Gallery I was met with headphone wearing individuals staring at television screens. This is surely the most intense way to view films and steps into the realm of art as well as cinema – suitable for the artists’ and experimental films. The Monopoly of Legitimate Use looks at the way in which technology helps us to identify privately and politically, with ourselves, and those around us. Set in the near future, Bumper, Blackspot and Stateless, follow three separate individuals trying to get to grips with themselves and their surroundings with the aid of technology. The films are measured contemplations on the world in which we live and will soon be living.
From the darkly comedic Humor to the unnerving yet peaceful Simulacre, from the compact sci fi Memorybox to the captivating Stay the Same, Screening 1 is a very strong catalogue of experimental short films. Collectively they look at the human experience: identity, memory, childhood, adulthood, the impact of time, and the impact we have on each other.
ASFF is running from the 6-9th November and tickets can be purchased at the Visit York Information Centre.