Canadian Film Festival: Short Films Review
Rosie Takes The Train
Directed by Stephen Philip Scott
Written by Stephen Philip Scott
Set in the 1930’s, Rosie Takes The Train tells the story of young girl who embarks on a train journey by herself. As the voyage unfolds, so to does her life, as we see her in various stages of maturity. Through her interactions with other passengers, we learn about Rosie’s life, her losses, regrets, and aspirations.
With a running time of only 10-minutes, Rosie Takes The Train uses this otherwise obstructive time constraint as a clever storytelling device, emphasizing the fleeting, ephemeral nature of life.
Consequently, life itself is embodied in the train journey. As the world around her changes, for better or for worse, the train becomes a permanent fixture in her life, the only tangible constant. The final destination and purpose of the journey, and by extension life, is unknown, or more appropriately, unknowable. As the short narrative comes full circle, you’ll find the result quietly poignant. Rosie Takes The Train is a moving take on life.
Everybody Wing Chun Tonight
Directed by Karen Suzuki
As a woman is walking home through a park, she is heckled and verbally harassed by three men. As one approaches, and lays a hand on her shoulder, time slows down, and the environment changes. We are presented a step-by-step tutorial for defending yourself via the art of Wing Chun, followed by visual demonstrations by the aforementioned group of people.
Although Everybody Wing Chun Tonight can, on the surface, be seen as a PSA against sexual harassment, there is more than meets the eye. As we get to the end, at the woman’s house, we are presented with two objects, representing the two different ways women could live like in a male-dominated world. The choice that she picks reinforces the main idea of Everybody Wing Chun Tonight, which is that, although important, women should take more than just defensive stance in society.
Directed by Joseph Procopio
Written by Joseph Procopio
Dear Onion Skin,
There are some crucial concerns that should be addressed regarding your central narrative. Although it’s about a high school Romeo defying peer pressure to write a love letter to his prospective Juliet, the film’s ensuing implications feel disingenuous. While trying to espouse the values of traditional romanticism, the film engages in teenage character assassination. In order to denounce the contemporary teenage stance towards romance, the film intentionally over-exaggerates their characters (most teenagers are not so anal retentive that they would refuse to lick a stamp). By making them over the top, and the defiant protagonist overly sentimental, it is clear that they film is trying to manipulate the viewer towards a certain ideological stance. The pathos is artificial. The message is therefore, because it’s based on false pretexts, empty. Because the film tries to instill an assertion without any concrete support, and because the film is peppered with irrelevant, ostentatious imagery, the film can essentially be defined by one word: pretentious.