‘Satellites’ was one of the collections of shorts hosted this year by Edinburgh International Film Festival, where the programs usually revolve around some aspect of British culture and the people who live in Britain.
The first film was CATMAN’S GREENOCK which is about a man of presumably Russian origin whose ship was wrecked of the cost of Scotland, where the people then grew to love him and adopt him as their own. What the film actually suggests is that the Catman is a voice of degradation and austerity who lives in every city across the world who has had their industry ruined by governments. Specifically, the Catman this film is about lives in Greenock, a place once teeming with industry due to the steelworks, which is now a shadow of its a former self. This one is for those interested in political fiction. It contrasts the visuals with an awesome poem from the Catman, political whilst also being artistic.
WAX AND FEATHERS was an exploration of one man’s dreams: his memories of his family and his father, who died young. The man then goes searching for his father’s remains but it is unclear if he ever finds them. Never is it clear where the line between dream and reality stops, which can make this film very difficult to track of. The approach works most of the time but sometimes you can’t piece together the fragments. Additionally, there are some brilliant visuals that make it more like you are watching a poem, played out on screen.
THE GRAB was a study into women who go to become brides of jihadis in the Middle East. The film focuses on a woman convinced to do more and more audacious things to prove that she is worthy and strong enough to come over to his home. This starts out innocently enough, with her simply having to train her body by working out. The tasks then build up to stealing an apple and finally a laptop. What makes this film engaging is that it is sympathising with the bride, attempting to make us understand why she is doing what she is doing. Additionally, the film’s trick ending is clever, turning the stereotyping we put on the person coercing her on its head and questioning our own judgments.
BEYOND THE NORTH WIND: A POST NUCLEAR REVERIE was a movie about the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant in Scotland. However, it becomes something more than that later on; almost a documentary on the degradation of nature due to human intervention and how humans throughout time have destroyed nature, except for the early humans who worked with nature. The message of this film is that we have to work with nature once again rather than destroying it. An interesting film, even if it is a little meandering and sometimes pushes its point a little too much.
A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST ANGUS FAIRHURST was a genius short film, which is funny and hilarious whilst also being insightful and artistic. The film doesn’t really have a story and is instead more of a single scene. We see Angus in a bar talking to other artists, where one of them doesn’t understand his work. So, he tells him a story about a dog that is trying to find his religion, which is ultimately pointless. His art revolves around getting galleries to call other galleries and seeing the hilarity that ensues. Truly someone that could be called the first ‘troll’.
ALIEN CULTURE follows the story of a London born Indian activist who is fighting against Neo-Nazis whilst also trying to discover where his bloodied and bruised brother is going at night. This short film deserves to be made into a whole film, which director Iesh Thapar has been trying to get made for a couple of years now. This film explores how we can all build prejudices whoever we are, despite what backgrounds we have or what wars we are fighting. It is reminiscent of films such as PRIDE where our expectations of people are broken down.