Tag Archives: Chris Morris

CAPSULE: CINEMA 16: EUROPEAN SHORT FILMS (EUROPEAN EDITION) (2007)

DIRECTED BY: Lukas Moodysson, Patrice Le Conte, , Virgil Widrich, , Peter Mullian, Nanni Moretti, Jan Kounen, Roy Andersson, Juan Solanas, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Jan Svankmajer, , Lars von Trier, Javier Fesser, Anders Thomas Jensen

FEATURING: Paddy Considine, Sten Ljunggren, , Isis Krüger, Thomas Wolff

PLOT: Comedies, dramas and experimental films are collected together in this anthology of sixteen award winning short films made by Europeans.

Still from My Wrongs #8245-8249 & 117 ()

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Compilations themselves aren’t eligible, and although some of the shorts here are quite weird, none of them are powerful enough to displace a feature film from the List.

COMMENTS: Short films have almost no commercial prospects: filmmakers generally make them as calling cards, for festival competitions where artistry is more important than marketability, and as a way to fiddle around with the medium of film. Experiments, whether visual or narrative, that might grow wearisome at 90 minutes can be refreshing at under 15 minutes, and directors can indulge their outré aesthetic impulses without fear of alienating audiences and distributors. There are, therefore, a higher proportion of weird works in the world of the short film than are found in the feature film universe: here, nine out of the sixteen offerings—more than half of the total—make at least a nod towards the strange, surreal, or fantastical.

Although we will run down all the films on the set, our primary interest here is in “My Wrongs #8245-8249 & 117,” provocateur ‘ first self-contained short film after years of making blackly absurd, boundary-pushing sketches for British television. Our interest in “Wrongs” stems both from the fact it’s likely the weirdest offering, and because a reader suggested it to us for review. Before we get to the unique films in this collection, we need to explain a little about the “Cinema 16: European Short Films” sets. For reasons that are somewhat unclear, Cinema 16 released two different discs entitled “European Short Films,” one for the European market and one for the U.S. market.  The two editions share seven films in common. We reviewed the U.S. release previously, and mini reviews of the overlapping shorts will be found in that article. The seven repeats are:
Continue reading CAPSULE: CINEMA 16: EUROPEAN SHORT FILMS (EUROPEAN EDITION) (2007)

TV CAPSULE: JAM (UK, 2000)

DIRECTED BY:  Chris Morris

FEATURING:  Chris Morris, Mark Heap, Amelia Bullmore, David Cann, Julia Davis, Kevin Eldon, Roz McCutcheon

PLOT:  “Jam” was a six episode TV series that originally aired on UK TV Channel 4.  Each 25

Still from Jam (2000)

minute episode was aired without ad breaks or credits.  The show featured various “sketches” and faux interviews dealing with suicide, murder, sexual abuse, rape, child death, and medical malpractice.  The whole thing was backed by occasionally intrusive ambient music and some segments were filmed or dubbed in an out of synch fashion that made them even more awkward and disturbing than the subject matter would suggest.

The show was repeated at a later hour as “Jaaam!”  This variation took the original sketches and remixed the visuals to make the viewing experience more tricky and surreal with shots sped up, fed through filters and replaced with stills.   Many of the sketches were born in a BBC Radio 1 very late night/early morning show called “Blue Jam” which mixed vocal skits with ambient tracks.  Some of the radio sketches were taken directly from the old soundtrack and then lip synched on TV, resulting in another layer in the onion of weird that was “Jam.”

COMMENTS:  To mix preserves, “Jam” is like Marmite: you’ll either love it or hate it.  Allow me to give you a taster.

A couple believes their young daughter is a 45 year old man trapped in a young girl’s body, so they have the genitals of a 45 year old man grafted to her body.

A woman calls a plumber to her house to fix her dead baby.  He is aghast, but she explains the baby is only 3 weeks old and they’re meant to last longer than that, and after all “it’s just pipes really.”  In a throwaway comment she reveals that the father has said he will leave if she doesn’t stop “going on about the pipes.”  An offer of £1000/hour convinces the plumber to give it a try, and later he takes her up to the bedroom to see his work.  He’s plumbed the baby’s corpse into the heating system to make it warm and added a little tap so it will gurgle.

A couple bargaining for a house negotiate a reduction in price in return for sex sessions with the seller.  When he receives a better offer, he threatens to renege on the deal, so they offer the services of the husband’s mentally disabled sister.

Some folks will have already decided that “Jam” is not for them, and I can’t really blame them.  Continue reading TV CAPSULE: JAM (UK, 2000)