film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, January 27, 2024

The 35th Annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival, January 26-28th, 2024

I've been covering the Notre Dame Student Festival on and off since 2014. Here are some of the highlights from this year along with favorable ratings. 

After the Race * * * Stars

-It's about race dogs who after competing, find solace in a pooch retirement home that's run for non-profit. If you like furry, hounds in their golden years (most people do), then After the Race will make you feel somewhat misty-eyed and agog before cutting to its teeming, Alaskan landscape. A type of mores that I've never been accustomed to before. 

A Dash of Paper & A Pinch of Spice * * * Stars

-Two people that have different forms of OCD, establish a sort of romantic relationship as one helps the other out. A Dash of Paper & A Punch of Spice may be a short at just under four minutes but it gets to the point. The two characters don't say anything but they make tender magic, transmitting their obsessions through the melodious background music. 

Bajo El Sol * * * Stars

-Street vendors in Southern California chronicle their hard-working day, selling snow cones and other tasty treats. Bajo El Sol is hazily shot low to the ground, and although its look is sunny and earthy, its subjects seem to have futures that don't appear so bright. Real and well, unfeigned.

Three Hands * * * Stars

-It's about four women playing poker and having a cocky air, with one of them eventually trying to hustle the other. Three Hands is ambitious, suggestive filmmaking, with swift editing, a lurid script, great use of the overhead shot, a rhythmic techno soundtrack, and solid, epigrammatic acting. "Hands up!"

Island Zero * * * 1/2 Stars

-Low camera angles, peeking-in discussions amongst townspeople, and winsomely dense cinematography inhabit Island Zero, a 12-minute documentary about the erosion of a tiny piece of land via the Chesapeake Bay. The mayor of said land acts as narrator and a sort of Greek chorus, offering his two cents while the area around him eventually looks as though it might turn into the landscape of Waterworld. This year's best entry at the ND film fest. 

Confishion * * * Stars

-Confishion is a quirky, kind of darkly comedic short about a woman who accidently kills her friend's fish (said friend just happens to be a priest). Good use of a single zoom shot and good use of a single flashback, Confishion is fun and rather outre. As the viewer you nervously laugh at what goes down. "Clown fish". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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