DINNER WITH DANTE, a 15-page narrative script set in Florence, Italy, after WWII, is a story of survival, of love, and of the people broken by the horrors of war.
An unnamed woman, who lost her fiancée in an anti-personnel mine accident that left her disfigured, is alone at a café, eating and conversing with the statue of Dante in a famous piazza in Florence.
After the accident, the woman seems to be living the same day over and over again, with no human interaction — except for the one with the café waiter — and no one left in her life.
The concept is well thought out, a person who gets stuck in limbo and can’t move forward, but the 15 pages seem to be a bit repetitive. The descriptions are very visual, the images of the same woman sitting in the same chair at the same café every day talking to herself in circles lead us to a feeling of anguish and claustrophobia.
The woman is trapped in a body that she doesn’t recognize and her life that’s not her own anymore.
This short script offers a profound and distressing reflection on the broken aspect of war. Life is measured in a before and an after, going back to your previous life is unfathomable, and the survivors live in purgatory, waiting for something that will never come.
But this script does not offer any solution on the matter, which leaves the reader to think: are war survivors really doomed to live their lives awaiting death?
What is happiness? This is the question the two authors, Nima Soofi and Daniel Ricardo Irias, try to answer in this feature documentary.
The backstory of the film is briefly hinted at in the introduction. Soofi and Irias started traveling and interviewing people, but they were unable to complete their project due to the surge of the pandemic, therefore, they used the footage of interviews shot up until then, mixed videos of their personal journey and travels, to create a documentary about happiness.
The two writers/directors travelled all over the world to gather their multifaceted interviews, from the US, to Thailand, to Mexico, and so on and so forth, and the many people interviewed bring so much complexity, richness and depth to their simple — yet so difficult — question.
The film shows the different journeys of all the people interviewed, which combined, create a macro journey in the discovery of love, acceptance, empathy and life.
The interviews are very well shot, and the variety of landscapes, backgrounds, lifestyles and colors bring lots of value to the documentary. The film is moving and informative, and watching it will open the audience's eyes on many topics such as coming out, terminal diseases and abuses, and will show that love, self appreciation and family values are ultimately at the core of people’s happiness.
The photography of the film is gorgeous and the interviews are very well conducted. They are specific and they get straight to the point. The editing is very well done and the addition of some animation-like moments showing personal life and perspective of the two authors are an unexpected and clever touch.
A positive and refreshing documentary about what human happiness really is about.
The recent invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military must have sparked a desire on Enzo Zelocchi to make a film about war, and the lack of humanity that is in fact present during wartime.
NO WAR is a19-minute action short directed, produced and written by Enzo Zelocchi, who also acts in the film as the lead.
Zelocchi portrays a CIA contractor who goes to Ukraine to look for Russian weapons of mass destruction. While in Ukraine, he stumbles upon a young Ukrainian girl, beautifully portrayed by real-life Ukrainian refugee Emiliia Nimak, and their encounter will help Zelocchi’s character to abort his mission in order to find refuge for the lost girl.
The film has great production value, starting from the hyper-realistic short in the cockpit of a fighter plane, to the beautiful drone shots. However, the few dialogues present show to be wiry and rigid, and the sound design is slightly inconsistent.
The visuals are in fact the strongest element of this film.
The editing is very well one and and helps keep the pace up, bringing rapidity to the fight scenes, and bringing softness and calm during the scenes with the little girl. In the final scene, the heaven is represented by a gorgeous picture of the clouds and the sky illuminated by a penetrating light.
The humanity of the film is ultimately provided by Nimak, who grounds the whole performance and helps us remember that when political conflicts arise, the life of children is the one thing that is truly at stake.
A concerning yet powerful film about the damages of war.
Boy Scientist is a 2-minute 44 seconds animated music video directed by Susan Lim, Samudra Kajal Saikia, and Christina Teenz Tan about a boy scientist nourishing an unrequited love for a fellow girl scientist.
We’ve seen another music video directed by the same trio, Timeless, which combined a simple concept with a linear execution.
But in this video, there are almost too many elements. The animation fails to keep up with the storyline and ends up looking rough and bumpy, and the lyrics of the song are a bit scattered. The result is almost more informative than artistic; a sort of next-level educational video for children.
The message too is discouraging and depressing.
The only elements that elevate the production are the well-recorded music arrangements, the nice melody, and the soft and soothing voice of the singer.
A music video that tries to overachieve, but that ultimately shows us that less is more.
Directed by Susan Lim, Samudra Kajal Saikia & Christina Teenz Tan
Timeless is a 3-minute 37 seconds animated music video directed by Susan Mey Lee Lim, Samudra Kajal Saikia, and Christina Teenz Tan.
The video shows a little girl, facing away from the audience, who walks through different landscapes, hand in hand with her teddy bear.
The mood of the video is nostalgic, as are the lyrics of the song. The video and the song want to speak to the child within each of us.
The video and the song are successful in reminding us of the times when it was enough to have a floor to sit on and an unanimated friend to talk to about our deepest secrets and fears.
The animator does a great job in bringing us back to that memory, the drawings are naïf and colorful, and the little girl walking facing away from us leaves us with a feeling of time that went by.
The song is very catchy, and the lyrics are insightful and suit the video very well. Ron Josef Danziger’s voice is warm and comforting.
A feel-good animation video that will make you go back in time.
Directed by Craig Murray
DEAD DREAMS FALLING is no common music video. By showing a connection that goes beyond the physical dimension, the 12-minute video results in an excellent and visually striking film that mixes fantasy with a strong plot and dark high-pitched electronic music.
The music video tells the story of two twins, a man, and a woman. The man is involved in a severe motorcycle accident and is urgently brought to the hospital, hanging onto his life. At the exact same time, and in a different place, the woman is vicariously living her brother’s death. From that moment on, their bodies get spiritually reunited.
The two twins, who have been apart in life, find each other again through their deaths.
This direction is very neat, all the scenes are on point and no element is superfluous. The images are imposing and beautiful.
The acting is truthful and subtle, the actors are almost dancers who are fighting to be kept alive and together.
Despite being extremely dark and poignant, this music video turns out to be very poetic. The director proves to be very capable of keeping a balance between darkness and light, between speed and slowness, and between birth and death.
After watching this artistic and skilled video, the audience will be left wondering: will the twin souls, so strongly connected on earth, get eventually separated?