Affirming our commitment to review the finest of world cinema regardless of length, The Film Verdict’s Short Films column is a unique feature that recognizes the growing influence of shorts on the film industry and the role they play in the careers of young filmmakers in particular. The reviews are curated by London-based critic Ben Nicholson (email@example.com), whose expert opinions have appeared in Sight & Sound, MUBI Notebook, Little White Lies and Hyperallergic. He has programmed for Sheffield DocFest and the London Short Film Festival and in 2019 founded ALT/KINO, which screens and publishes writing about experimental film. He is the artistic director of the Alpha Film Festival, the first shorts festival in the metaverse.
Godard reaches from beyond with one final film, a coarse and compelling act of montage, an expressive audiovisual treatment for a never-to-be-made made feature, Phony Wars.
The cruelty of an uncaring welfare state is brought into sharp relief in Jade Hærem Aksnes’s stomach-churning satirical drama about poverty, Grill.
A young boy grieving the loss of his mother forms a bond with a desert drifter in the heart-warming Israeli drama, Seaweed.
A mother and father are confronted with an agonising dilemma as they attempt to prepare the body of their young transgender child for burial in Ahmad Alyaseer’s ‘Our Males and Females’.
A man uses virtual reality to experience and retouch the memory of his deceased daughter in this poignant, thought-provoking Iranian sci-fi, Dream Maker.
A tentative friendship begins between a cleaner and the woman who employs her in Cleaner, a delicately wrought drama about relationships and their boundaries.
The miniature beings that starred in an 80s television show slowly unravel in Wander to Wonder, a surreal animation that riffs on an enchanting children’s story trope.
Silent film footage is repurposed in We Should All Be Futurists, a deliciously comic reimagining of Marinetti’s man-machine hybrid as a novel – intimate – cure for female hysteria.
A largely deserted port plays host to subtle drama unraveling at a glacially pace in Xandra Popescu’s strangely beguiling study in stasis, Sentimental Stories.
The inconsistencies of adolescence are the challenges of burgeoning womanhood are central to Leila Basma’s knotty and intoxicating coming-of-age short, Sea Salt.
Unspoken traumas are made manifest in Shirin Sohani and Hossein Molayemi’s beautifully drawn and profoundly moving animated allegory, In the Shadow of the Cypress.
Wes Anderson’s second Roald Dahl adaptation packs a feature’s worth of deadpan humor and aggressive visual style into just 37 minutes.
The long fingers of the Kosovo War reach into the present in Sovran Nrecaj’s patient and stark documentary about Fran and Verka’s isolated life in an abandoned village.
Domonkos Erhardt’s student short ‘From the Corner of My Eyes’ uses the malleability of the animated image to great effect to capture a miniature moment of connection.
With ‘Lost Children’ Lola Cambourieu and Yann Berlier have created an aching, poignant and keenly observed depiction of a dislocated father-daughter relationship, premiered in Sarajevo International Film Festival,
The personal and the political entangle in Self-Portrait Along the Borderline, Anna Dziapshipa’s excellent essay doc about Georgian-Abkhazian relations through the lens of her own family history. It is competing in Sarajevo International Film Festival
Sara Jurincic’s experimental documentary Valerija charts an act of communion with long-deceased relatives, probing playfully at perceptions of remembrance and lineage. It screens in Sarajevo International Film Festival
Mátalos a todos de Sebastian Molina Ruiz combina la estética grunge en video con elementos epistolares para explorar el sentimiento adolescente de aislamiento .
A tentative friendship blossoms through video correspondence in ‘Kill ‘Em All’, a deftly observed docudrama filled with youthful uncertainty and poignant loneliness.
Riz Ahmed takes centre stage with Isabelle Adjani in ‘Dammi’, Yann Mounir Demange’s fragmentary, experimental and highly sensorial reckoning with his own bifurcated past.