For the Boston Underground Film Festival, I had the chance to review the DARK [MID]NIGHT OF THE SOUL Short Film Block. As described on the program, “these disparate short films capture the true spirit of ‘underground’ however one seeks to define the term.” Read on to see what I thought of these uniquely bizarre midnight shorts!

Gwilliam’s Tips for Turning Tricks into Treats

Such a bizarre little puppet man who turns out tricks and gives treats to all the men of the neighborhood. While this short film doesn’t so much give the view tips, it is a treat giving us some quality time with ol’ Gwilliam.

Gwilliam’s Tip for Turning Tricks into Treats is a follow-up to Gwilliam. I have not seen the original short film, but this follow-up does not disappoint. This bizarre, gross humor left me wanting to knock on Gwilliam’s door again. I look forward to seeing more in this universe and from the filmmaker, Brian Lonano.

Mama’s Boy

Sexually abused pretty boy obsessed with his mother finally snaps killing his abusers and runs home crying to his, what we assume to be, dead mother propped up in an armchair and monologues about nothing for the better part of 11 minutes.

While we do find out he was also sexually abused by his mother as a child, much of the monologue rings hollow. This short film did nothing for me. The audio recording also had some level issues. specifically, in the first scene when the lead character is talking into the floor and later in the film when the character is whispering.

Nico Lives

Drag star, Nico, seeks revenge for wrongfully having the Paradise City pageant stolen from her by a couple of bitches who are too jealous to appreciate her art. Nico is going to show those bitches how cutthroat she can be.

Nico Lives is a starving artist story told with a fresh coat of make-up. I enjoyed this short film but would have liked a little less monologue and a little more bitchy one lines that I’ve come to expect from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Perhaps I would be classified under not appreciating the art of drag by Nico, but I am happy the story talks about the effort put in by these people performing.

Patron Saint

Ecstasy brought to heaven by a patron saint and goddesses. Patron Saint is 8 minutes of striking imagery and characters presented in ethereal voiceless vignettes.

I had trouble following any kind of plot here. This could just not be the style of film that resonates with me, but I enjoyed the imagery and I would love to see the interesting looking characters more.

Rosalina

Crime lord Vinnie laments about his perception of true love on his 50th birthday. Vinnie’s visiting brother, Hjalmar, gets the brunt of his brother’s rage and insecurities in the wake of one more person who didn’t “truly” love Vinnie.

This was my favorite short of the block. The tension of watching a crime boss at his wits end who is probably surrounded by people too scared to tell him no or that they don’t love him. What lengths will Vinnie go to feel secure and loved? What will he do if he doesn’t feel that? The answer is not pretty. I would gladly watch this short again.

Supine

Four vignettes following a girl, Niamh, who grew up secluded with her brothers in a compound. Raised by her father, they only communicate through strange language based on movements.

Supine starts off with a very odd “conversation” between Niamh and a boy in a wheelchair in what seems like a timeless chamber. Through the conversation, we get to learn a bit about her, her brothers, and her father. Most of the time is used for dialogue that fills in details of this world we don’t get to see much of until Niamh escape the compound. The final vignette finds Niamh in a convience store having a field day playing and eating snacks until she makes herself ill.

I find this world fascinating and want to see more of this compound, how her brothers deal with life in the compound, why their father chose this life for them and if their mother is still around.

Limbo

Jose finds his life in an unacceptable state of limbo as he finds any way to change it, ultimately having to deal with the reproductions over and over again.

Limbo has a lot of style with the panning camera shots and practical scares. The entire time you’re made to feel a growing uneasiness that is pulled off well with lighting and camera tricks. I would like to see more of Dani Viqueira Carballa’s work and what they could do with a bigger budget.

Movie Reviews

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