VIMEO Awards 2012: A Bitch

Here we are for another review on the contestants for the narrative short film category at the VIMEO Awards 2012.

You can find more information about this year’s VIMEO Awards clicking here. For the list of short films taking part in the narrative lineup, click here.

Tonight’s guest is A Bitch, by Matthew Miller

The waves clashing the boulders. The sand. A stream of water flows through the fissure. Carved in the rock. A man wanders in the landscape. Inside the house, a hearth, a woman tries to cut the firewood with an axe, but really has no idea on how to do so, it seems. Foggy day. A woman stares at her own sadness. Metaphorically speaking.

— It’s our 2-minutes mark, i usually do a 3-minutes one, but this film doesn’t have enough to last 3 minutes. THERE ARE 6 SHOTS IN 2 MINUTES. IT’S 20-SECONDS PER SHOT. IT’S BORING. Worst is that the shots aren’t even gorgeous enough to be used as an excuse. Well, only 5 minutes left.

The kettle. The stones. The wind always present. Another woman is resting. The water is boiling in the kettle. The woman gets up. The other woman is still staring at the window, but notices the footsteps in the house. The active woman takes the kettle out of the hearth. Something seems to hit the floor. Footsteps. A door opens. The woman at the window opens it while the other leaves the house wearing a raincoat.

The waves. A prosthetic leg floats in the waterstream. Someone hops with a single leg along a path through the low vegetation. Actually, i just had to rewind the film to the moment the woman leaves the house just to check if she was missing a leg by then. Yes, she has a single leg there. And among ALL THE USELESS SHOTS the only useful one lasts 2 seconds. Back to where we stopped: girl hoping around. Our girl with a disability struggles to cross the carpet of rocks around her. The adrift leg. She climbs the rock formations. Meanwhile, the woman in the house carves a line in the table she sits at. The girl loses sight of the leg when it passes under a boulder and when she finds it again, the prosthetic is moving deeper into the sea. She swims while the woman in the house finishes her carving. The girl fights the ocean, but the latter seems to have won.

The woman in the house cuts a banana with knife and fork. The water drains away from the lost leg. Both women sit at the table, in front of each other. To the girl with a disability is offered the plate of bananas by the other woman. Black screen. The waves. Credits. 

— And thank God it is over! Movies like this are the reason why the short film format needs better screenwriters. There’s a story in there and it is somehow told correctly, it avoids most mistakes Prologue and Webcam has, as we explored before, however it is certainly not well done.

A Bitch wastes too much time into landscaping and setting an unnecessary atmosphere, because the story about a girl without a leg, looking after her prothesis lost in what seems to be an open captivity while the other woman sadistically watches as she fails is good, is Svankmajer stuff, bizarre and ironic. This could be a much darker film and more effective. The problem should have come much earlier and might also be interesting to have some evidence that it is not a single-day event, but an everyday game for the “woman with two legs” (according to the film credits), this would be easily shown by having many other carvings at the table. That’s the reason why Waiting for Godot explores two days instead of one, to make it clear that it is a quotidian situation. There a story to be told and even a logic to be followed even in the absurd theatre.

— Don’t start your film when it is on its half, this should be basic. If you must start your story before the event it surrounds, you better have a damn good reason to do so. Do so with conflict or action, not hipster filmmaking.

RATING: 3/10

Review’s schedule:

19/05: The Ghosts, by Eddie O’Keefe; (read)
20/05: Prologue, by Bradley W. Ragland; (read)
21/05: Webcam, by Zbros Productions; (read)
22/05: A Bitch, by Matthew Miller;
23/05: Left Right, by Tom Willems;
24/05: The Hive, by Blind Aura Pictures;
25/05: Hooked, by Stuart Howe;
26/05: Pothound, by Christopher Guiness;
27/05: The Division of Gravity, by Rob Chiu;
28/05: Blinky™, by Ruairi Robinson;
29/05: Human Beings, by Jonathan Entwistle;
30/05: Ham Sandwich, by Dave Green.


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