International Award Winners With Short Film Resumes
A list of 2018 Cannes Film Festival Winners That Also Love To Make Short Films
Stars, journalists and on-lookers are on their way out of the Croisette, but not without some serious reflection on the list of winners. The award announcements ended up being much less controversial than the events surrounding Cannes before the festival, and we are mostly thankful for it.
Though there are many categories and many awards given out each year at Cannes, we wanted to single out a few who have had short films in their past and who are likely to return to short films in the future.
Winner of the Grand Prix, “BlaKkKlansman”: Spike Lee
This was perhaps the most talked-about (and most enthusiastically received) film at the festival this year. This was partly due to its very timely social commentary on racial tensions in America, but also partly due to Lee’s adept hand at mixing the seriousness of the context with the zip and satirical punch of many of his late films. It didn’t quite make it to top honors, but hit pretty close.
Spike Lee has had many successes, but what gets spoken the least about is his prolific output of short films. Ever since Last Hustle in Brooklyn, made back in 1979, he has made short films as interludes between his major feature film releases.
Just last year, he teamed up with the fashion label Moncler to give us a 7-minute bonanza for the senses. Loosely structured as a music video, Lee uses the famous sonnet “The New Colossus” (“Give me your tired, your poor”) in conjunction with various manipulations (some digital, some with the actual human body) of dancing, flexing, moving bodies. The filmmaking is as fun as it is experimental. One can feel Spike trying just about anything he wants, proving once against that creative expression can be most brazen and fearless when in the short form.
Winner of Un Certain Regard, “Borders”, Ali Abbasi
Borders was itself based on a short story, meaning Abbasi is no stranger to the short form in other artistic mediums. His film perhaps got the most buzz internationally, largely for its genre-bending premise and execution.
Only two films before his award-winner though, came a 30-minute short called M for Markus. A gritty and dark noir, this story of obsession and derangement carries many of the same twisty-turny elements later praised in Borders. Abbasi’s high standard for production value and full commitment to sharp tonal changes can be found here. If one wants a grisly film that really takes chances, look no further.
Winner of the Art Cinema Award (Director’s Fortnight), “Climax”, Gasper Noe
Always pushing the buttons (and many times in ways not appreciated), Noe nevertheless has the stylistic chops and philosophical weightiness to get everyone from film buffs to scholars excited about his next projects. Climax is said to be his zaniest film yet (if that’s even possible), so, instead of trying to beat that, we thought we’d return to a very little-known (and honestly not too controversial) short Noe directed.
Part of a collaboration with several other auteur directors (Kenneth Anger, Harmony Korine, among many others), the collaboration short 42 One Dream Rush was commissioned as a project meant to give international filmmaking superstars the chance to cinematically depict dreamscapes in just minutes. All the shorts are definitely worth seeing here, and while Noe’s actually isn’t the most disturbing on the list, it remains an impeccably achieved technical marvel (something one can always respect from the provocateur).
Winner of the Special Palme d’Or, “The Image Book,” Jean-Luc Godard
Special exception was made this year for Jean-Luc Godard, because, of course. The man needs no introduction, especially if you’ve ever taken a film class. This revolutionary filmmaker that rocked the French (and world) cinema in 1960, is still as feisty a pioneer as ever, and proves it with each new groundbreaking work.
In a move that only Godard would appreciate, we have picked a short film that isn’t really a short at all (or is it?). Blending the real with the cinematic as Godard has always done so well, in 2014 he wrote a “letter in motion” to the directors of Cannes. It’s about as elusive and frustrating as you would hope (and there’s no English subtitles, so enjoy!). Though, in the true cinematic spirit, it is the images anyway (and the montages that string the isolated images together) that create the most cinematic power. All hail Godard!
Winner of the short film Palme d’Or, “All These Creatures”, Charles Williams
Here it is again…that “other” Palme d’Or! The Australian-based film looked to be the front-runner for the award from the beginning, and in the end pulled through. This personal tale of a boy facing his demons is just the latest in a string of high-profile short releases from Williams.
His last short was less than 4 minutes long, but certainly just as powerful. A collaboration with poet Tariro Mavondo, Williams follows the speaker in gorgeous black-and-white. The camera proves as furious and justified as the narrator, swooping and soaring through the vacant corridors and into the seas where the refugees must travel to find safety. Though not a traditional narrative piece, Home shows just how adept Williams is at establishing, and controlling, a short film’s tone. And for that virtuous ability, we say congrats to another successful short Palme d’Or winner!