SFiFF xiii: Domestic Dramas

DOMESTIC DRAMAS (2005)
Total running time 114 minutes

These narrative shorts convey the humor and tragedy that make up the most common spheres of our existence and the upheaval that results when the things we most desire refuse to come to fruition or are achieved in unexpected ways. [SFiFF Program Guide]
Seven are on the program; I saw five, as I had to leave for work.

domestic title.jpg

THE LIGHT, USA, 11 minutes

Guy gets up at 7:17, shaves, eats cereal, gets in his beater Dodge, drives, reaches a particular intersection at Portola Ave, light turns red. “F-bomb!”

Guy gets up at 7:17, shaves, eats cereal, gets in his beater Dodge, drives, reaches a particular intersection at Portola Ave, light turns red. “F-bomb!”

Guy gets up at 7:17, shaves, eats cereal, gets in his beater Dodge, drives, reaches a particular intersection at Portola Ave, light turns red. “F-bomb!”

Guy gets up at 7:17, shaves, eats cereal, gets in his beater Dodge, drives, reaches a particular intersection at Portola Ave, light turns red. “F-bomb!”

Guy gets up at 7:17, shaves, eats cereal, gets in his beater Dodge, drives, reaches a particular intersection at Portola Ave, light turns red. “F-bomb!”

Guy gets up at 7:17, shaves, eats cereal, gets in his beater Dodge, drives, reaches a particular intersection at Portola Ave, light turns red. “F-bomb!” “F-bomb!” “F-bomb!” “F-bomb!” “F-bomb!” “F-bomb!”

This attracts the attention of a guy beside him in a plumbers repair truck who stares at him oddly.

“This light always changes red for me!” the guy in the Dodge says.

“Perhaps there is a reason,” the plumber says, and drives off.

Guy gets up at 7:17, shaves, eats cereal, gets in his beater Dodge, drives, reaches a particular intersection at Portola Ave, light turns red. He stops at the curb and looks around. He remembers that an attractive woman his age always comes out of the house on the corner and crosses at the light. Today she is not there. He walks up to the house and knocks. There is no answer. There is a “For Rent” sign in the window.

KITCHEN, France, 15 minutes

A placid French housewife has two live lobsters on her counter and a butcher knife in her hand. Her cookbook says, “Split the lobster down the center with a butcher knife. Remove the claws and legs,” She is poised with the knife above the lobster, and remembers a domestic task that she must do now. She puts down the knife and goes about her task.

It seems that there are many tasks she must perform on this day, and while she keeps coming back to the lobsters, there’s always something else to do.

Meanwhile, the lobsters crawl off the counter and fall on the floor.

Her husband will be home before long and expect dinner.

She draws water in the bathtub and puts the lobster in. (I cannot reveal the demise of the first lobster in a family review.) It happily swims around; she watches. She plugs in her hair dryer, turns it on, throws it in the bathtub and runs. The lights go out.

She meets her husband at the door of the dark house. He changes the fuse. “I think I”ll take a bath,” he says.

She decides to take a walk.

LOVE AT 4PM, Spain, 16 minutes

1965. At 4PM each day, a Buenos Aires aristocrat must see her favorite soap opera. She imagines herself embracing the hero, and running off with him. Just when the final episode is to be aired, she has an important meeting with her fellow socialites. She enlists her maid to watch and report on the outcome.
Complications ensue.

REMAIN UPRIGHT, Macedonia, 14 minutes

A man with a heavy load of groceries for a dinner party has spent all his cash and doesn”t have bus fair home. He finds himself in a long line at the bank and imagines what he would like to say to the belligerent, slow, clerk who hates her job.

Offended, she calls Security and the man tells the officer where he intends to insert his nightstick. Security calls the cops, he knees the cop in the groin and is taken to jail where he goes into an insane rage and staples the jailer’s hand to the table. So he is taken to the hospital in a straight jacket where he bull-rushes the attendant and escapes.

The dinner is a big success and the hostess compliments her husband who did the shopping.

FIVE MINUTES MR WELLES, USA, 30 minutes (pictured above)

Needing money, Orson Welles reluctantly agrees to star in The Third Man. We watch as he rehearses with his comely assistant. He can”t get his lines right and wants to change everything. At the five minute knock on the door, he tries to escape through the window. Frustrated, he trashes the room, knocks over a large table and is rendered unconscious. He awakes reciting his lines perfectly. He and his assistant stroll through the door to glory.

These five shorts had very little in common, but were equally entertaining in their own way.

mrating * * * *

The San Francisco International Film Festival is running now through May 4. I”m volunteering at the festival and plan to attend as many of the films as I can work in to my schedule. Bear in mind that, for the most part, these are independent films and many have not been picked up for distribution, so they may not be playing at a “theater near you” anytime soon. On the other hand, some of the foreign films may have already been released in Europe.

As a public service, I will post brief reviews. My ratings are based on 5 stars ***** with a tilde ~ being half-a-star.

Happy viewing, or in any case, keep your eyes on rectorsite.com.

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