5 to See: ASFF 2020

ASFF selects five new films that feature as part of this year’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival. Spiriting viewers around the globe, from Norway to Ireland and Singapore, these films tackle important ideas surrounding masculinity, sexuality, friendship and human connection.


FACTORY TALK (SUBTITLED)
(dirs.) Lucie Rachel, Chrissie Hyde, UK, 2020, 04:31

Connection: People, Places and Identity | Artists’ Film | Identity

Factory Talk is an intergenerational conversation about identity, sexuality and masculinity. As two men (Nick Finegan, Darryl Bradford) pursue their mundane work in a car factory, directors Rachel and Hyde cut the images of mechanization and automation to a voiceover – a poem written and performed by poet 1990s Chris, which addresses prejudice and mental health in an urgent monologue. Very soon, the dialogue transcends the ordinary, the “small talk”, and into something far greater.

THE AFFECTED (SUBTITLED)
(dir.) Rikke Gregersen Norway, 2020, 13:00

Breaking Down Barriers | Comedy 4 | The World Is Strange In Times Of Change

Minutes before take-off, a situation occurs that prevents an airplane from leaving. A passenger refuses to sit down in order stop the deportation of another man who’s inside the plane. “You’re sending a person to his death,” wails the female passenger – unseen – in what is a very shrewd take on the minefield that is political correctness. We only ever see the reaction of the other passengers and the beleaguered airline staff, in a short that cleverly explores ethics and our attitudes in the west to refugees.

ODE
(dirs.) Naomi Waring Ireland, 2020, 03:40

Reclaiming Space: Personal and Universal Narratives | Dance 1 | This Is Movement

A film about pride and identity in Northern Ireland, Ode begins with a shot of an ordinary-looking housing estate. But it is soon enlivened by girls – dancing queens, all dressed in sparkling outfits and performing their signature moves. Dynamically captured alongside graffiti-strewn urban environments, this dance troupe comes to embody the film’s final lines, from Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s poem Ode: “We are the music makers…we are the dreamers of dreams.”

THE DESERT (SUBTITLED)
(dir.) Daphski  Spain, 2020, 22:36

Keep On The Sunny Side of Life | Drama 5 | Stand Tall

Played by newcomer Jordan Allen-Oswald, British supermarket employee Jordan is a rebellious 24-year-old. She has nothing to lose, so becomes a mule – carrying drugs in her stomach for a few thousand euros. Marking the debut of writer-director Daphski, The Desert is immediately reminiscent of Maria Full of Grace, the 2004 drama that covered similar terrain. Here, we see Jordan ensconced in a camp where she prepares for her smuggling trip, the director – and the desert – emphasizing the loneliness of her illicit pursuit.

UNCLE GOOSE WAITS FOR A PHONE CALL (SUBTITLED)
(dir.) Kew Lin Singapore, 2020 15:06

Just Another Day on Earth | Drama 9 | To All The Boys

Waiting for an old friend’s phone call, someone who has been living in Australia these past thirty years, the lonesome Uncle Goose (Chen Shu Cheng) has not left home for days – something we can all probably relate to right now. When food runs out, he goes to great lengths to keep the telephone by his side. A sprightly comic tale about our need for connection and human interaction, it’s also a tender look at mortality.


All films available on ASFF’s online platform until 30 November. Click here for more details.

James Mottram