The first short film to be shown in the Fusion: Space & Oddity strand at Cambridge Film Festival was TEST, directed by Jay Lifton. An ordinary guy spends the day undertaking bizarre tests in a strange facility, with the results of which are ambiguous and confusing. TEST is creepy yet engaging, the eerie soundtrack and minimal use of dialogue hold in the viewer’s interest. It doesn’t explain what it’s about or why this man is being made to take these tests, but its sterile and cold environment leave a lot to be interpreted.
HELIO, directed by Teddy Cecil, is an impressive and thrilling look into a dystopian future where people are forced to live in a totalitarian underground society. Visually, HELIO is striking, evoking some of the sci-fi visions of a corrupt but technologically advanced future. Rebels plan to cause an uprising but things get out of hand and a miner gets caught up in the action. He acquires the key to an escape, and heads out on a perilous journey to find out what’s beyond the world of his own. What he finds above ground is the reason why everyone is forced to live underground. HELIO delivers just the right amount to construe without giving too much away.
The third short film to be shown was STRANGE WEATHER, directed by Tom Shrapnel. This film follows a man and a woman in different locations, who both witness an unusual weather phenomenon. The event they both witness causes a change in the characters, eventually drawing together their empty and lonely lives. STRANGE WEATHER is beautifully emotive in the sense that the weather can be seen as a pathetic fallacy for the emotional states of the two characters.
REST STOP is a clever little film that toys with the notion that all is not as it seems to be.
THE SPLIT, directed by Ed Rigg, features a man talking directly to us about the consequences of our actions, and the inevitable result of cause and effect. The man talks about his day for a prolonged period of time, but it eventually all comes together to describe the man’s lack of faith in parallel universes, and how he wishes they were real. THE SPLIT is sombre and somewhat bittersweet. It’ll make you think about the ways you could affect a stranger’s life at any given moment.
REST STOP, directed by Kate Herron, was the fifth short film to be shown. An excitable and annoying American girl is backpacking across Europe, trying to find some meaning to her banal existence. On one of her rest stops at a British service station, she comes across a guy who claims to know her and what her future holds. REST STOP is a clever little film that toys with the notion that all is not as it seems to be.
SATAN HAS A BUSHY TAIL, the final short film out of the six shown, is as crazy as it sounds. Directed by Louis Paxton, this cute yet quirky film delivers many laughs, while upholding a theme of bereavement and loss. A grandson goes to stay with his grandfather, only to realise that they both are being distracted from their problems by something as small and insignificant as a squirrel. Catching the squirrel becomes their aim, but both their issues are brought to light and it brings the two closer together. The juxtaposition of something so sad delivered with comedic relief is hard to pull off, but SATAN HAS A BUSHY TAIL does this effortlessly.