SHORT FILMS

In many ways I find short films more interesting and more exciting than features films. Being shorter than feature films with a ‘running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits’, they offer a more focused look at material and, although there are exceptions, there’s much more room for experimentation with the infinite possibilities that lie within the minutes filmmakers have to work with. A large selection of short films push the boundaries set by film and often delve in content suitable for more of a niche audience rather than a mass audience. In preparation for our short film I researched many released on the internet and for a DVD release.

As a class we looked at a production from director Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr Vengence) called Judgement. Also known as Simpan, this short film draws on a disaster that took place in South Korea to ironically criticize the greed of rampant capitalism.  In 1995, in Seoul, a huge shopping centre, the Sampung department Store, killing about 500 people and injuring many others. The story is set in a morgue where the lifeless body of a girl lies, waiting to be identified, and the owner of the body is argued after an employee recognises her as his daughter.

  • The film’s story cleverly is formed around a true tragedy which is something that might be a potential lead to a story for myself.
  • Its location mainly consists of one room inside a morgue and so the director and Park Hyun-Cheol, the cinematographer, have incorporated bizarre, weird and striking angles and shots to keep the viewer interested.
  • A large variety of shots are featured. Extreme close-ups, wide shots, two-shots and much more are used so the room is not shot in the same way twice. It helps hide the fact that the film was made with such a low budget.
  • There’s limited sound but what’s there is carefully and professionally recorded.

Above is a short film I discovered through my research and really admired for a number of reasons.

  • I noticed this film has a lot of focus on cinematography.
  • The film took its time to continue with the story. It was slow paced which helped viewers get a better understanding of the characters involved.
  • It was very stylistic and also shocking, daring with the content in the film such as the peculiar sex scene and sexual predatory from a seemingly normal man after a pregnant woman.
  • Non-digetic music was used heavily during scenes.
  • Motifs are often featured such as ‘The Man’ and his coffee stirrer.
  • A freeze frame is used, an uncommon feature of film, and captures the humour on the ending effectively and successfully.
  • Only two significant locations are used. The busy motorway and the gas station.
  • The struggle between the two main characters is what the story thrives off. Although the woman seems to despise the man, she continues to tease him despite his boyfriend never being too far away.
  • The film is not afraid to hold on to moments and to take its time in scenarios. Often the viewer feels an uneasy urge for the story to get moving or any action to occur such as the car to continue its journey once blocking dozens of vehicles behind it.
  • The plot often has twists and turns. For example, its humorously revealed that the female lead has her boyfriend with her in the car the entire time.
  • Lighting in the ‘gas station’ is used to create a dark, industrial atmosphere the scene deserves.
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