CIFF Film Reviews: Short Films Program 4

Since these are short films, the reviews will also be short.  How apropos.  😉

1 Golden is a silent film about a boy with golden skin and the challenges he faces growing up, until he falls in love with another young man with golden skin and begins to discover other people like himself.

I gave this film a 2, and I have been questioning my rating of this film.  First of all, I went into the Film Festival this year with a resolution to grade non-comedic films a little more harshly this year.  (I’ll get to the comedic films later on.)  This was one of the first films I saw, so my resolution was in full force.  My first instinct would have been a 3, but I dropped it down to a 2.

The film does have its flaws.  First of all, it uses the Golden skin as a metaphor for sexual orientation, which is not a great metaphor.  Second of all, when the metaphor is revealed at the end, I felt more confused than enlightened, since I never got the sense that he was struggling with sexual orientation.  The film was a good idea, and I appreciate the conciseness of the story and the risk of telling a story without words.  Unfortunately, the metaphor was problematic.

Rating: 2 (probably should have been a 3.)

Group B was about a young professional race car driver who is getting back into racing after recovering from a crash that killed his friend.  The film reminded me a lot of the film Rush, which was a wonderful film and did not get anywhere near the success it deserved.  (Seriously: I am going to see Captain America: Civil War for two reasons and one of them is Daniel Bruhl.)  The film is suspenseful and moving, though I am not sure I will remember this film over the years.

Rating: 4

Reinventing the Wheel

Golden, the film mentioned above, won the best LGBT short award.  Personally, I would have given it to Reinventing the Wheel.  (Though I only saw two LGBT short films, so the competition isn’t all that meaningful.)  This film details how LGBT individuals are portrayed in films and how these characters are often limited simply to their sexuality.  We spend a lot of time with one director who is working on a feature film.  The main characters are gay men, but the film is a thriller.  The fact that they are gay is not the focus of the story.

The main problem that LGBT filmmakers face is the same problem that all independent filmmakers face: money.  (The last film I saw at the festival was made for $75,000.)  Like other independent filmmakers, they struggle to find funding for their projects.  In addition, the LGBT film movement seeks to grow beyond “coming out” stories to a much broader range of topics.

Rating 4

Golden Shot

Golden Shot was dialogue free animated film about machines who try to fly.  I did not like this film.  For whatever reason, I found it hard to focus on the film.  The animation was skilled, but I really didn’t care about the machines.  The film was only 9 minutes long but it felt three times as long.

Rating: 1

How I Didn’t Become a Piano Player

This was a splendid film.  The film tells the story of a young boy who desperately wants to find his talent.  When his father brings home a tinny piano from the local dump, he decides to be a piano player. Unfortunately,  he has no more aptitude for the piano than he does for soccer, and his mother and piano teacher want him to quit.  There were so many funny lines and images within the short film.  My favorite is his aging piano teacher, completely disgusted with his terrible playing, sitting with her back to him as he practices.

I think that there is a definite bias against funny films which goes beyond the film festival. We decide that comedic films cannot win top prizes, whether it is the Oscar or other rewards, because they are not “serious.”  It is crazy because I have seen comedic films that have stayed with me for years, and dramatic films that have faded from my mind.  As a result, I made a choice to be far more willing to give top marks to comedic films. This film definitely deserved it.

Grade : 5


Grounded tells the story of a young woman who works at an airport who must help a young woman get on a plane to London so that she can attend her mother’s funeral.  The story is very simple and straight forward, but the movie is sincere and heartfelt.  We feel for the woman who desperately needs to get home to her mother’s funeral.  We also share in the sense of purpose of the employee, who has helped a woman in a desperate.  situation.

There is no evil in this film, just good people trying to make their way in the world.

Grade: 4




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