PROVINCETOWN (INT'L) FILM FESTIVAL - Shorts
Provincetown 2020-36 Solar Lights
(All Rights Reserved)
NEW ENGLAND SHORTS 1 (Part One):
Let's Meet Again at the End of the World (2021)
Pap's Manifesto (2021)
Senior Prom (2021)
King Philip's Belt: A Story of Wampum
Provincetown 2020-36 Solar Lights
As with any movie but most importantly for a short, the first few minutes determine audience interest and thus a decision to keep watching. The films which succeeded in catching my attention, Senior Prom and King Philip's Belt: A Story of Wampum had much in their favor.
Senior Prom (produced by PBS for their Independent Lens series) begins with teenagers either excited to attend their prom or lamenting their inability to go because of their LGBTQ status. Segueing to old adults, a.k.a. senior citizens, the pain in their eyes as they express anger for being excluded when younger is palpable. Others laugh at their decision to participate--some with disdain--by pretending to be straight.
Finally at a LGBTQ, senior community in Los Angeles, those who missed their opportunity to be themselves rejoice when invited to a prom at the center. Infectious joy will leave you smiling.
Provincetown 2020-36 Solar Lights stuns. A visual reflection on solar energy directed by Jay Critchley, the eight-minute short opens in black&white, transitioning to color. A cyclist carrying flashing cylindrical lights in a transparent bag, the image still in black&white, meanders through the streets of Provincetown. You'll need to watch the remainder of this creative exercise to see what unfolds--breathtaking.
King Philip's Belt: A Story of Wampum, made as much for the Wampanoag then as an educational tool for outsiders, pulls the audience into its story with haunting, traditional music then moving on to scenes from a Powwow. Correcting misnomers about wampum (it's not a tribal currency; the term is only used for Northeast tribes solely--its origin being Wampanoag--and the items don't reflect their history, they are history. From the quahog shells used, methods to make the beads handed-down over generations, he finished wampum, in this documentary members make a belt resembling the lost treasure, King Philip's (or Medicam, his Wampanoag name).
The short includes a discussion about the wampum connection to nature, the conflict that left the belt behind, after King Philip/Medicam's death and its disappearance; the Aquinnah Wampanoag shellfisherman who makes wampum, and, the women who've dedicated their time to preserving, clarifying and continuing Wampanoag tradition.
Unfortunately, the editor neglected to excise two repetitive scenes (exactly) that don't emphasize but only detract from the short, stop the story's momentum in its tracks. Hopefully, the filmmakers will resolve this issue.
Let's Meet Again at the End of the World begins with a storyteller, a distraction, and a handsome, young man cycling around Provincetown. His promiscuous inclinations, justified by his unwillingness to move past himself, are reenacted as the narrator explains the man's need to find a soulmate.
The final selection in this montage, Pap's Manifesto, opens violently. A man uses a machine gun for target practice. Only after a stretch does he stop, pull away and we see he's a veteran in a wheelchair. His mission to kill Muslims in a mosque. Later, he stumbles across his granddaughter in a most unlikely place. Will he change his mind?
These various shorts have something for everyone. Whether they lack content, technique or seamlessly blend both, they're worth a look-see. Which will pique your interest?
All films are unrated. However, Let's Meet includes sexual scenes and Pap's Manifesto would be too frightening/violent for children.
See my reviews of just released/shown Festival movies, with more to come, on this website.
MASKS ARE REQUIRED AT ALL INDOOR SCREENINGS FOR THE FESTIVAL.
Earlier reviews (before May 20, 2021) are available on https://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/wendy-shreve/movies
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