THE DAY MY MOTHER BECAME A MONSTER (Le Jour où Maman est Devenue un Monstre) by Josephine Hopkins is an interesting story about a mother and a daughter. Candice is getting ready for her 9th birthday. She lives alone with her mother after the divorce of her parents and gets a call saying that her father will be there to celebrate, not that her mother is all too happy about that!

I have mixed feelings when it comes to this film. First, I need to say that I did enjoy the film. There were just a couple of things that I felt needed to happen to help better enhance the story. First off, the move begins with Candice’s mom telling her a bed time story, about a monster who cries because he is lonely and is befriended by a young female traveler. What is interesting, is the mother is a veterinarian and finds herself distracted at work one afternoon while attempting to give aid to a small snapping turtle. If there were a DC Comic, then by her getting bitten she would become some amazing superhero – a Turtle Femme Fatale – and rid the world of evil. But we watch horror films so naturally she becomes a monster (the title kind of gives that away)!

The slow and gradual change of her into the monster was good AND the actual makeup and creature effects were really good AND they had this awesome shot of the young girl opening the door as her mother changed into the monster. That, in and of itself, is worth watching the film for. My only issues were from a story point of view. Why did she have such an aversion to a turtle bite? The story never alluded to the turtle having any sort of special toxin or power in which to change people. In a short film I could look past that, but what I found odd is that the daughter never seemed bothered or concerned that her mother was turning into a scary turtle monster. I just feel that if I saw my own mother turning into some sort of evil scaly creature I might take a step back and be like “what the fuck is happening?” But perhaps that’s just the relationship my mother and I have. Overall, I did find the short to be enjoyable and it was shot very well, so I have no doubt it will do well in festivals!

APOCALYPSE BABIES, directed by Annabelle Berkani, is about two children wandering in a dead world where degenerates echoes of the past resonate. This is a simple but powerful film. Two kids, who never speak, drift aimlessly through the city. It’s almost sad and morbid – as if what kind of world are we leaving our children. To be able to get such a complicated message across in an uncomplicated film, shows how well the short is filmed.

Shot in mostly wide angles – with a few extreme close ups for poignant storytelling – this film tells the audience how vast and lonely the world is for these two kids. Do they have parents? Family? Friends? Neighbors? The film never answers us, and when the young boy perishes, the young girl is left alone and the lack of dialogue only enhances that sense of loneliness. The final message is done in voice over by political pundits about the effects of global warming is fodder, which leaves the audience aching and broken, yet somehow woke. Great job for a short film!

LA PEAU SAUVAGE (Wild Skin) is the story of a young and solitary woman who finds herself disturbed when she discovers a baby python in her apartment. This mysterious presence unleashes her deepest urges allowing her to express who she truly is for the first time. Directed by Ariane Louise-Seize, this film is very artistic and visually stunning especially in the wonderful production design of this woman’s small apartment as it slowly gets encapsulated by a tropical rainforest.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Marilyn Castonguay is an average girl who seems to live an average life in her average apartment until she finds a small python crawling in her vent. Befriending the snake makes her realize something within herself she was not aware existed, allowing her and this snake to have a strange bond that is almost borderline obsessive.

The film had wonderful use of the camera which I loved and the sound design was great. There was no dialogue at all but the actress was very captivating and creepy, especially with the relationship with the snake. I am not sure I completely understand the entirety of the story, such as what was it about the snake she felt a connection to or why a small jungle began to grow in her apartment, almost as if she were becoming a python herself. However, with all that said, this film was beautifully shot and you could see the directors passion in this project.

Make sure you check out the METAMORPHOSIS Film Block on Saturday, February 3rd at the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival

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