Sunday, 3 April 2016

Five Great Dramatic Short Films Available Online

In the context of the ways in which we categorise our own entertainment, 'drama' is a term that can feel almost uselessly vague. After all, dramatic moments can crop up in any story - no matter what genre it defines itself as. A comedy can still take time for a heartfelt conversation between two characters. A science fiction, or fantasy, story may be built around relationships that feel entirely real and genuine. Even a horror story might take a moment to explore feelings of grief regarding a character's (doubtlessly horrifying) death.

Pure drama, though, is a genre that defines itself by these moments - It's a genre that entirely devotes itself to exploring themes that are, for lack of a better word, dramatic. They can be bleak and depressing sorts of stories, of course - but, there's also plenty of room for stories that are hopeful and uplifting. They can be romantic, or tragic, or tense - exploring subject matter that could range anywhere from love and family to crime and corruption.

Whatever form they take, these are the sorts of stories that most depend on establishing a strong sense of connection between the characters and the audience - due to the simple fact that their success is almost entirely dependent on convincing you to feel something of what the characters are feeling.

Below is a list of five great short drama films which, in my opinion, all manage to succeed at this quite admirably.

The Most Beautiful Thing


A socially awkward kid, who I'm sure many of us can easily relate to, is only barely able to work up to courage to say 'hello' to a girl, only to be immediately disheartened by her complete lack of response. But, as it turns out, she isn't ignoring him - she's actually deaf. After the inevitable awkwardness that results from this unexpected development, the two quickly go on to become close friends. But, with the 'all-important' end of year prom quickly approaching, is there any chance that they could become something more?

As love stories go, The Most Beautiful Thing is, admittedly, a fairly standard one. It is one full of angst and emotion, and one that contains various misunderstandings of both the comical and dramatic variety. It is a short film which fully embraces all of the discomfit of being a teenager in love - and, as a result, it seems to be in almost constant danger of becoming to worst sort of over-blown melodrama. But, thanks in large part to the performances given by its two, very likable, leads it never quite reaches that point - instead proving to be charming, and genuinely touching.

To watch The Most Beautiful Thing, just follow this link (Click Me!).


Hitch Hike


Hitch Hike is a quiet, somewhat sombre, and actually quite simple, sort of story.

An 18 year old boy attempts to track down the mother who had abandoned him shortly after he was born, and who he has never met - depending on the kindness of whoever is willing to stop as he attempts to hitch hike is way across New Zealand. The latest person to pull over, though, turns out to be an intimidating looking man with a Swastika tattoo on his face. Naturally, the boy is hesitant about excepting this man's offer for a ride - but, ultimately, the lack of any better option convinced him to take the chance. As they set out together, the two begin to share details of their lives - and, find themselves bonding, unexpectedly.

Hitch Hike is a film which, obviously, works to play with the viewer's expectations - and, with the expectations of it's lead character. Ultimately, neither the intimidating, and seemingly potentially dangerous, older or the woman who may be the boy's biological mother turn out to be quite what he expects them to be - both, for better or worse.

With such a simple story, though, it is obviously the moments of interaction between the two central characters, and the quality of the performances, that makes truly makes Hitch Hike worth watching.

You can watch Hitch Hike by following this link (Click Me!).


The Last 3 Minutes


Based on the classic idea of a person's life flashing before their eyes in the moments before they day, The Last 3 Minutes is a simple and elegantly told tale. An elderly man, simply trying to finish his work for the day, suddenly collapses in pain. Unable to move, or even call for help, he can do little more but lay there, where he fell.

For the next three minutes, the viewer is invited to share this man's thoughts in his final moments - experiencing a jumble of memories from throughout his long life. What makes this sequence so interesting is the first person perspective of each of these memories. Whether it's his life with his wife, his experiences as a soldier, or even his earliest memories as a child, the viewer shares them with him in a way that can't help but feel intensely personal.

You can watch The Last 3 Minutes by following this link (Click Me!).


Stop


Stop is a very straightforward film. An African-American teenager, just trying to make his way home after baseball practice, is stopped by police - finding himself targeted by the 'stop and frisk' practice employed by police in New York City.

It's a simple film, sure - but, not necessarily an easy one. It does, after all, play strongly on issues of race and racial profiling, with the strong possibility that this particular teenager was only stopped because he happened to be black. Then, there's also the morality of the whole 'stop and frisk' thing, itself - and, questions of whether it's right, or even useful.

What's most interesting, though, is the fact that film does not feel the need to make any grand statements about its subject matter - instead, opting to simply let us watch the events play out, and inviting us to form our own opinions. It's the sort of film that I can easily imagine inspiring very different reactions in different viewers.

You can watch Stop by following this link (Click Me!).


We Were Awesome


Returning to their home town for Thanksgiving, two life-long, though increasingly estranged, friends head out for a night of drinking. As the night draws to a close, they find their way to the top of a hill, were they had spent so much time when they were younger - intending to watch the sun rise, as they had so many times before.

We Were Awesome is a film strongly based in feelings of nostalgia for the past - that sense that things were simply better back then, and the accompanying feeling of regret that your life should have changed so much. It's an obvious theme, sure - but, it still manages to be explored in an impressively subtle way, here. It's a film which manages to be both funny, and a little sad - all entirely centered around a conversation between these two old friends which manages to feel genuine, and entirely natural.

You can watch We Were Awesome by following this link (Click Me!).

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