Jealousy. It is an all-consuming emotion which leads to strong feelings of insecurity, mistrust, and resentment. Sometimes the covetous reaction occurs because of an object and other times a person becomes the catalyst for the fanatical desire. Regardless of the source of obsession, unchecked envy can lead to disastrous results. Having premiered on Friday the 4th, Final Girls Berlin Film Festival brings five stories filled with jealousy. At the center of each short stands a character who obsessively covets a friend, a family member, or even a complete stranger until their envy consumes them.
RED IS THE COLOR OF BEAUTY
Director Beck Kitsis uses a color palette which intensely combines reds and blues for a really special Giallo effect. Amidst the deep reds and forbidden blues, sits a necklace. The piece of jewelry rests innocently on display in a mall, but once it gets close to closing time, two women find themselves both admiring the trinket. Visually appealing, this short gets to the action quickly and leaves you wondering “What just happened?”
INCH THICK, KNEE DEEP
Two women meet over tea and exchange pleasantries about their lives. One a bartender and grad student, the other an English professor who speaks in Shakespeare quotes and sarcasm. Adrienne the bartender tries to diffuse any tense situations, while Quinn only wants to embroil the issues at hand. As the tea brews, the bitterness becomes more intense as both women openly discuss Adrienne’s relationship with Quinn’s soulmate. Director Anatasha Blakely expertly builds tension because whenever the audience might assume they know the situation, the film exposes more of what’s hidden. Overall, a very unsettling take on jealousy and obsession.
Making its German premiere, HANNYA focuses on a small party in which Ana finally meets her boyfriend Mathieu’s friends. The friends ask a lot of questions and speak mysteriously about their companion Marie who is newly returned from Japan. Marie and Mathieu’s boyfriend seems to have a past, but Ana has secrets as well. The build-up of the story creates a lot of different possible threads as Japanese myths and masks also get thrown in, but do not ever seem to go anywhere. The violence happens abruptly and very horribly, so be prepared for some extreme sexual violence against women. The character development of Ana deserves a full-length feature because she has more secrets to tell, but Mathieu and his obnoxious friends can go.
GIRLS NIGHT IN
Alison Roberto’s short takes a more satirical approach to the concept of envy. Becca and Delaney plan a quiet night in, but before Del can arrive, the creaks and rattles of Becca’s home make it clear someone else is in the house. Based on the Bechdel test which requires a film to have a moment in which two women do not talk about a man, the director decides to go in a different direction. Instead of trying to best the Bechdel test, Roberto poses the question: what is the strangest situation in which two women might fight over a guy?
MURDERERS PREFER BLONDES
Another comical approach to jealousy, directors Mika Bar On Nesher and Mary Neely offer a very unique and humorous depiction of sibling rivalry. Identical twin women live together in a small apartment where the Brunette twin must constantly be reminded of the Blonde twin’s popularity. Jealous of not being the Blonde twin and envious of her sister’s perfect boyfriend, the Brunette twin decides to make some changes. The music in the end credits, the acting, and the “boyfriend” all hold similarities with the 1983 short “Possibly in Michigan.” So much so, I kept expecting the characters to start singing.
If you cannot make it to the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, most of the shorts will be available to watch virtually internationally and tickets can be purchased here.