The North Bend Film Festival opens today and runs through July 18. Online ticketing is available, but is geo-locked to residents of Washington, Oregon or Idaho. In the future, these movies may be available through alternate venues—stay tuned to this website for updates.
Below you will find not-quite-twenty reviews for three of the short film blocks that caught my eye. But you may be one of those unfortunate many with “time constraints” and with a job that isn’t “reviewing movies.” Heed, then, the following three recommendations that on their own are almost worth the price of admission: Stuffed, a taxidermy musical (and future feature film); Skinner 29, in which podcast fun turns sharply unsettling—part of an immersive narrative experience; and A Tale Best Forgotten, five minutes of quiet dream-horror that left me going “gaahhhhh!”
“Something Strange?” shorts block
The Nipple Whisperer (d. Jan Van Dyck; 15 min.)—”All those bubbles adore you… because your surrender is so complete,” coaches the director. “It’s just fucking soap” retorts the actress. Before this exchange, two men meet furtively in a café: David is entreating Sandy to, once again, “Be the guy!”… because Doris is asking him. Sandy reluctantly agrees, and through his powers, the crew is able to film a soap commercial of Wagnerian grandiosity. Though communicated indirectly, a lot of characterization and backstory is crammed into its fifteen minutes; a ridiculous concept conveyed with impressive gravitas. Closing on a reunion of sorts, Whisperer goes one further in boldness and humanity as Sandy does his “thing” for Doris, who we see has endured a double mastectomy.
You Wouldn’t Understand (d. Trish Harnetiaux; 9 min.)—There may have been no good way to end this film. The setup, however, was wonderful. A man idles with a book, enjoying his own private picnic, when in the middle-distance two men clad in white sally towards him, before disappearing behind some shrubs. One emerges, clad in a Prussian-style ensemble, and asks for “Horsey Sauce” for his hundred (then hundreds, then thousands) of friends to share. Before you can say punchline, things are made clear. Perhaps too clear; perhaps too jokey. The first two acts build a whimsical menace; the final act elicits an, “Oh, okay. Sure.”
Grab Them (d. Morgane Dziurla-Petit; 12 min.)—You know what you cannot un-see? A Trump-faced woman masturbating with a vibrating dildo. Like the rest of Grab Them (short for “Grab them by the pussy”), this is actually done with considerable restraint. This mockumentary chronicles the experiences of a middle-aged Swedish woman whose face is exactly the same as that of the former president. Taking its subject seriously (as these things must), we’re told how her marriage hit a road block around 2016, that she lost her job at the small company she worked for, and Continue reading NORTH BEND FILM FESTIVAL 2021: THE BIG SHORTS COMPENDIUM