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two shorts: Ilha das Flores / Now

Posted by martinteller on November 20, 2013

Ilha das Flores is a 1990 short by Brazilian director Jorge Furtado.  Something like Buñuel’s Las Hurdes but with whimsical narration reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut (Breakfast of Champions in particular comes to mind), it is a brilliant look at the life of a spoiled tomato.  Furtado takes detours to explain things like what makes chickens different from whales, or what a “day” is, as if explaining everything to an alien but being oddly choosy about which things need explaining.  Underneath the humor, however, is a bitter and cynical look at the world, where capitalism is a laughable absurdity and pigs are given priority over people who have no “owners”.  Very lively and funny and cleverly edited.  I would like to see more from this director.  Rating: Great (90)



Now is a 1965 short by Cuban director Santiago Alvarez.  With Lena Horne’s song (based on the melody of “Hava Nagila”) of the same title as the only soundtrack, it displays a series of clips and still images of the civil rights movement and the brutal treatment of African-Americans.  While these images are disturbing and powerful, and there’s a palpable revolution spirit to the piece (especially in its gunfire conclusion), it didn’t impress me much as a piece of filmmaking.  It feels like a montage cut from a bigger film.  That’s not to say it’s bad, it just didn’t resonate with me much, especially following the creativity of Ilha das Flores.  Rating: Good (75)


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