The Nordic International Film Festival provided a wide array of short films that engaged the personal side of life as well as more cerebral themes and ideas. Out of all the short films I’ve seen, these are the three that remain in the forefront of my mind because of their imaginative storytelling.
Running Through Life is a beautifully shot short film by Director Helen Moltke-Leth from Denmark. The entire short film is of a woman, running through different parts of the city with a voiceover that provides insight into her mind as she contemplates her thoughts, actions, and how she affects those around her. The voiceover really delivers a sense of struggle from the runner and what she wants versus what’s expected of her. Overall, it’s shot very well with a noteworthy juxtaposition of the nighttime setting with the woman's internal struggle that transitions into daybreak, implying a hopeful mindset.
You and Me is an intimate story between mother (Laufey Elíasdóttir) and daughter (Gríma Valsdóttir). Through misdirection, Director Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir wants the audience to think it’s a story between a man and woman who attempt to hook up after a night at the bar. It is revealed to the audience that the woman is a single mother when she closes the door to the room with her sleeping daughter inside. The woman proceeds to sleep with the man until her daughter interrupts them and which leads her to throw the man out of her home. What comes after is a display of great acting in a dialogue between mother and daughter as they reveal what their life is like, what it was like before, and what it will be like looking forward. The dynamic between the mother and daughter alludes to a role reversal of parent and child where the daughter almost plays the parent role of her mother in a cheeky, but playful way. Child actors are sometimes difficult to work with and have very little experience in most cases, but Director Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir seems to capture a child's natural inclination to be playful. Though it is a short film, I can't help but feel like I want more of their story because of the way the short film ends; mysterious, but hopeful.
Box, from Director Mathias Askeland, managed to get an Honorable Mention in the Nordic International Film Festival Awards with good reason. Box is the product of unconventional, but innovative filmmaking. The entire short film is shot as one long take and shows Anne Cecilie Ukkelberg and Kenneth Åkerland Berg, a couple attempting to take the perfect picture in a photo booth. While attempting to get this perfect picture, their relationship is revealed to be far from perfect as both partners fail to meet one another’s expectations in their relationship. It feels as if the photo booth is a metaphor for the boxed in or repressed feelings and problems of their relationship. The whole dialogue between them is reflective of how real life relationship problems are dealt with and seeing that reflection was both humorous and tragic. To prepare for the film, Anne Cecilie Ukkelberg and Kenneth Åkerland Berg lived together to attempt to replicate an authentic relationship. This paid off well because it would lead them to play off one another better as it really seems like both characters are in sync and manage to capture the quips they’d really have for one another. For a short film titled Box, Director Mathias Askeland thinks outside of the box and knocks it out of the park with this one.