August 16, 2010

Toronto After Dark: More Shorts- THE HAUNT and JUNKO'S SHAMISEN

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As much as I come to Toronto After Dark for the feature films, I love me some Canadian shorts.

Preceding the screening of Cargo was Kevin Doherty's "THE HAUNT." Introduced as creepy and subtle, it was neither. A man and his younger sister sit by a camp fire and discuss her upcoming wedding. Flashbacks take us to his childhood when he had nightmares. Except for the neat use of early-era footage to give the flasback scenes a late 80s to mid 90s feel in contrast to the polished digital quality of the short's modern scenes, "THE HAUNT" was fairly uninteresting.

The second film of the night, before RoboGeisha, was "Junko's Shamisen" by Sol Friedman. This one is a visual treat. Combining the aesthetics of kabuki, black and white inked comics, and stop motion animation, "Junko's Shamisen" is a feudal story about a young girl's revenge on the Samurai who killed her blind grandfather. The synthesis of visual elements and western / eastern styles is nothing short of arresting. Although not online for free, it can be seen for a small fee on the short's OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Below, I've embedded a trailer to give you a sense of its style.