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Boys On Film: Pacific Rim



DF2112473112112Released: 2011

Shorts Directed By: Hannah Hilliard, Boo Junfeng, Kim Jho Kwang-Soo, Sophie Hyde, Craig Boreham, Darcy Prendergast, Brent Anbe

Certificate: 18

Reviewed By: Timothy Breach

The sixth collection in Peccadillo Pictures Boys on Film series continues to bring together short films of varying length, style, genre and country of origin.

Long before the feature film Pacific Rim, we had this Pacific Rim. Am I saying rim too much? Many of you will understand this to be relating to the nations around (or in) in the Pacific. It’s synonymous with volcanoes and is also know as the ring of fire. Rim and ring of fire… that isn’t a pleasant image. Back to the collection. Unlike its predecessor Candy Boy, Pacific Rim as a title choice is pretty simple to explain; the films originate from Pacific rim countries.

Franswa Sharl? Does anyone have any idea what that means? I don’t and Google didn’t help. Maybe its aborigine or Australian slang. It doesn’t really matter though because there’s nothing confusing about the film itself. It’s actually rather delightful. A charming tale of rivalry between two families headed by competitive fathers. Character and dynamics are established well through comical scenes. Franswa Sharl’s focus however is on the Greg, a boy trying to live up to paternal expectations. Though there isn’t a focus on sexuality as a driving force of the story, it’s alluded to in the film’s conclusion; a pageant! Callan McAuliffe (who you may recognise from The Great Gatsby or I am Number Four) puts in a believable performance and adds to the charm of it all. You could do so much worse in 14 minutes than watch this.

Next we have the short whose review has been most viewed on my blog (Constrained Film Reviews); Tanjong Rhu. Let’s face it; few people watch short films and even fewer people seek reviews of them. Then add in the LGBT+ content and the audience decreases further. Now add in foreign language films and the audience gets reduced ever more. Short films, LGBT+ cinema and foreign language films are underrated and under-viewed by the masses, and Tanjong Rhu is a testament to the importance and power of all three. It is so well crafted that cultural and linguistic differences disappear. There isn’t anything so cultural specific that it’s hard to understand (not that it’s generic) nor does anything appear to be lost in the use of subtitles (why do people fear subtitles?). Also known as The Casuarina Cove, Tanjong Rhu is loosely based on real events and for me it was so raw that it was difficult not to be moved. A universal tolerance of diverse sexual orientations and genders is unfortunately a long way off and this is just a snapshot, a tame one at that, of things that go on around the world. Open your eyes and look beyond the edges of our country.

Let’s move on to Drowning before I get carried away (not that drowning sounds good when you say it out loud). Did it sink? Did I drown in emotion? Erm… as a short exploring the internal conflicts of the protagonist Mik it works. They’re clearly depicted through his dialogue and actions (cue the sink scene). However there appeared to be a sub-plot which was implied (through flashbacks) but was never delved into ,and for me that was unsatisfying. What were the finer details of the relationship between Mik and his brother, or am I reading too much into it? Either way the direction lost me a little and detracted from the impact of the climax. Saying that though, it did make me smile.

Teddy (not to be confused with the semi-funny Ted) is basically a short about someone who wants to get an ex back but instead walks away with the teddy bear. Within that premise is potential and the use of the teddy as a visual manifestation of a relationship is promising but… it lacks movement, tension and conflict. The best part for me (SPOILER ALERT) was when a boiling kettle interrupts a kiss – it felt very British.You could say that this kettle malfunctioned, didn’t quite boil and failed to create steam.

The kettle/boiling metaphor is a nice link to Love, 100°C – get it? Though in this case a better appliance may be a slow cooker. It may take a while, but that tender meat is certainly worth it. Mmm mmm mmm. What I mean is that the pace of Love, 100°C is slow but it’s worth the investment. The central character Min-so is not just another closet case. His sexuality is almost secondary to his hearing-impairment (if that’s the correct terminology). I’ve actually had two hearing-impaired friends so was able to relate to Min-so quite easily, so I may be viewing things differently. What is immediate is the cultural differences; public bath houses aren’t commonplace here (you’d probably actually get arrested for pubic indecency!) but the pacing and subtlety of the performances ease you into the world, however distant and shut off it may be. You may not ever experience something like this, but you can’t deny being moved by Min-so’s metamorphosis as a character.

When I first watched and reviewed Ron The Zookeeper I was too hard on it. I took it too literally. Come on, it’s a grey panda, they don’t even exist! I’m certainly not condoning bestiality but I suppose sperm samples are collected all the time; it’s just not a job I would want. What made it uncomfortable the first time around was that the panda talks. It blurred lines and no one likes blurred lines! So with fresh eyes I focused on the humour and it does have its moments. What I liked most however was its claymation style of animation… if it’s claymation that is!

What would you do if you had 10 hours left with someone? It’s an intriguing proposition and a premise which filled me with high expectations. My Last 10 Hours With You however failed to lived up to them. What works is the believability of the performances working with the normality of events on screen. It’s definitely well acted and the character’s frustrations are evident. There is a clear change in the relationship as time moves on but there is little cause and effect. It almost plods along. But maybe that’s what it’s saying about life and relationships? We all just plod along until things are over. Sad really…

The women in Ajumma! Are you Krazy? certainly don’t just plod along and yes, that’s crazy with a K, not a spelling mistake. Think Sex And The City meets The Real Housewives only funny (don’t hate me if you love those shows). Let’s get the bad out of the way first; the acting. These actresses are not destined for a Globe, an Emmy or an Oscar. But, in their defence, it works. The characters are insane, the story is ridiculous and the poor performance only intensify the hilarity of it all. I was so engrossed that by the time of the twist, I forgot that there was supposed to be an LGBT+ element in the film. At 25 minutes long it may be pushing it but in all honesty, I wanted more.

But, unfortunately it ended and so too did Pacific Rim. Congratulations on making it through to the end; there were certainly highs and lows… well, only one really. So does that mean this collection is the best so far? Almost, but my justifications for enjoying some of the shorts aren’t merits of quality and are subjective. So where do I place it in the pecking order? Well that’s getting difficult. But I have to look at it as a collection. Unfortunately it doesn’t surpass Protect Me From What I Want at the top. I don’t want to suggest that any of the collections are bad, I just understand that they require an investment. So on that basis, I’d place Pacific Rim towards the bottom of the pile, but if you can, at least watch Tanjong Rhu and Love, 100°C.

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