Short Film Examples and Analysis

1. The first short film I analysed is from a website called http://www.shortoftheweek.com and was called ‘A Man Who Delivers.’ It is based upon a true story about the life of a cocaine dealer in East London. We are not aware of his name so the clients in the text messages refer to him as ‘Mr’. Throughout the piece, we don’t actually see the face of the character, let alone any of the other characters involved. All that is shown is the text messages between the dealer and his clients, and occasionally his girlfriend questioning his whereabouts. The voice over presents the dealer as a fairly normal man, who only sells cocaine to ‘pay the bills, feed the kids’. He is portrayed as a protagonist through his casual tone and in the way that he doesn’t seem like a typical drug dealer; he receives messages from his girlfriend asking what time he will arrive at their children’s football game.

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http://www.shortoftheweek.com/2013/06/20/a-man-who-delivers/

Within the film, all the audience sees is the atmosphere of the streets of London, along with the text messages alongside the screen. The audience is therefore able to listen to what ‘Mr’ has to say, and gain an impression from his personality. ‘Mr’ refers to his clients as ‘very nice people who’ve made me a lot of dough’. He often laughs at what he tells us about his clients going behind each other’s back to buy cocaine, how one of them called Sally says “don’t tell John, and John’s like ‘don’t tell Sally” suggesting he has a personal relationship with his clients, conveying him as a nice man. During the whole film, there is often a shot of the time on a digital clock showing his working hours during the day; the story is being told over the time of a day.

Personally, I loved this short film. I found it intriguing and I felt that the fact that his accent was very cockney that he was a more relatable and personable character.

The next few films I analysed are from the short film website: http://www.filminute.com

2. The first one minute film I analysed was called ‘Chop Chop’. It is about an animated character who sweeps in to a situation in which a woman is about to be executed so he fights all of the guards in order to save her. There is plenty of heroic music as he fights and the colours are very pale in the background to grasp the focus of the audience on the event in the foreground. As the men continue to battle, the music suddenly slows and stops as the final guard is held at sword point. He flinches and points to the woman underneath the guillotine. As the character portrayed as the hero pauses and glances at the woman, he realises that she has already been beheaded, and must awkwardly depart from the scene. It turns out that he was much too late to save her, and ended up needlessly killing the rest of the men around her. He whistles for his noble steed, who gallops straight past him. The hero must climb down from the stage and walk away in shame.
What I enjoyed most about this short was the unexpected humour. At first the short seems like an animated action scene that would continue on in a similar manner for the whole minute. However, the contrast that strikes the audience in the middle of the film is so different and awkward to the start of it, that it is amusing and in some ways, believable.

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3. The second one minute film I analysed was called ‘Schnitzels’.
It is a simple short about a man and a woman in a kitchen. The man is sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and a newspaper whilst the woman is at the kitchen surface hitting some meat with a mallet. It is done very repetitively at an equal pace. As the man sits uncomfortably at the kitchen table, the loud banging coming from the mallet pounding the meat is causing his cup of tea to shake on the table. Suddenly, the woman stops pounding. The man uses this as an opportunity to drink his tea while it is no longer shaking on the table. However, as he sips, the pounding begins again causing him to start and spill his tea down his shirt. As he reaches for a tea towel to mop himself with, he spills the tea and it crashes and breaks on the floor. The pounding stops again and the woman slowly looks around with a strong look of grimace on her face. The man looks petrified as he reaches to clean up the broken cup and the woman turns back around to continue cleaning up the cup.
What I enjoyed mainly about this short was the simplicity of it. There is only one main event that occurs and it is also very realistic. What I find most amusing is the look on the woman’s face. She seems to possess some sort of power over the man, simply because he broke the cup full of tea.

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4.  Another short film I analysed was called ‘Lady I’. It begins with the image of a middle aged woman putting on some lipstick in a circular mirror. From this shot, one can assume that she is somewhat middle class by what she is wearing on her face. She smears some of the lipstick from her lips on to her cheeks to work as blusher. After she has applied her make-up, the light hearted music stops and a sound of doors locking and keys jangling appear. In the mirror, the woman’s face begins to wrinkle and shed tears.

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It then fades to black and in the next scene it shows her sitting on the bottom bed of a bunk bed, turning the radio up. The black bolted door in the corner implies that she is in a prison cell, which is much unexpected due to the initial impression the audience may have gained from the first scene. A compartment of the door unlocks and a tray of food is passed through. She looks at it with no emotion and then looks away out of the window, not bothering to go and pick it up. The writing then fades in revealing that ‘Lady I’ in fact stands for ‘Lady Inmate’.
I felt that this film short was fairly simple, yet at the same time had a strong message about first impressions.

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5. The final film short I analysed was my favourite of them all: ‘Flip Book’. The film begins with a crime scene investigation scenario in which photos and notes are being taken of a blonde woman who has a large wound on the side of her head who appears to be dead. The detectives are discussing what has happened. As two of the detectives in white coats begin to talk, the detective who has just entered examines the dead woman more closely. He notices a little book on the floor which reads ‘flip me’ and picks it up. He asks ‘what’s this?’ to his colleagues; however they do not respond and continue to compare notes. The detective decides to flip the book and an animated image of a duck appears. At first it seems like nothing, until the duck’s head begins to spurt blood. The duck is then seen holding a gun, and BANG! A shooting sound is heard. The camera cuts to the floor where the flip book drops and the scene ends. What I loved most about this short was that the innocence of a flip book was counter typed as some form of weapon and it was so unexpected. The flip book acts as an antagonist- I’m afraid I won’t be using one for a very long time now…

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