Size does not matter – or so they say – and in the cinema, even less. If the other day we showed it with our selection of films set in a single location, today we put the scale aside to focus on the duration and offer you this list with 19 short films signed by two established directors.
From our Nacho Vigalondo to the always stimulating David Lynch, passing through teachers like Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook, below you have a a good handful of diverse proposals to rediscover some of these authors from a new point of view.
‘7:35 in the morning’ (Nacho Vigalondo)
We started with an authentic marvel of the house that, in addition, served our unique and unrepeatable Nacho Vigalondo to take a tour of the Oscars 2005, in which he was nominated. No luck with the statuette, but his ‘7:35 in the morning’ has remained in the collective memory as one of the best short films of the homeland filmography. Pure Vigalondo.
‘Two Cars, One Night’ (Taika Waititi)
Curiously, New Zealander Taika Waititi coincided with Nacho Vigalondo at the 2005 Oscars ceremony, in which he also was nominated for this ‘Two Cars, One Night’; a short about the first love with interpretations as warm as the heart that it squanders in its twelve minutes.
‘Pioneer’ (David Lowery)
David Lowery made the definitive leap to the front page of the cinema with the fantastic ‘In a lawless place’ -2013- and ‘A Ghost Story’ -2017, but before this, the filmmaker, in addition to a couple of feature films, had signed a good handful of shorts among which ‘Pioneer’ stands out; a piece in which a father tells his son a peculiar good night story.
‘Six Shooter’ (Martin McDonagh)
‘Hidden in Bruges’, ‘Seven psychopaths’, ‘Three advertisements on the outskirts’ … If you like the three feature films directed by Martin McDonagh as much as I do, wait until you see ‘Six Shooter’, his first and only short film, with which he started his career. Half an hour of brilliant conversations, a huge lead performance by Brendan Gleeson, and a brutal third act.
‘Wasp’ (Andrea Arnold)
If you haven’t already looked for it and didn’t know it previously, you may be wondering who the hell beat Taika Waititi and Nacho Vigalondo at the 2005 Oscars. Well, the winner was Andrea Arnold, who later he would direct ‘American Honey’, ‘Fish Tank’ or ‘Wuthering Heights’, with this drama that explores the difficulties of a mother of four children.
‘The Big Shave’ (Martin Scorsese)
Teacher Martin Scorsese doesn’t need a cover letter. What is worth mentioning is the varied nature of a filmography in which he has touched all the clubs there have been and to have, including the short film. After making his feature debut with ‘Who’s Knocking on My Door?’, Good old Marty directed this short piece in which a simple shave turns into a harsh critique of the American reality in the Vietnam war.
‘Doodlebug’ (Christopher Nolan)
Loved and hated in equal parts, Christopher Nolan is a filmmaker who does not leave indifferent. Beyond his ability to shape spectacular concepts and elaborate narratives, the Briton has always been known for telling stories in which an obsession leads to self-destruction for the protagonists, and this same thematic filia was already present in ‘Doodlebug’, shot a year before his debut ‘Following’.
‘Vincent’ (Tim Burton)
Before falling in love with half the world with his particular universes and his waste of creativity in feature films such as ‘Bitelchus’ or ‘Corpse Bride’, Tim Burton cultivated the medium of the short film for a long time. One of his most prestigious short works, with permission from ‘Frankenweenie’, is ‘Vincent’, in which the director already pointed out ways with a heartfelt tribute to German Expressionism and Edgar Allan Poe. Brilliant.
‘Small Deaths’ (Lynne Ramsay)
Con ‘Small Deaths’, Lynne Ramsay, director of those wonders entitled ‘Actually, you were never here’ and ‘We have to talk about Kevin’, won the jury prize in the short film section of the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. No wonder, because the little more than ten minutes long of this cathartic film is worth its weight in gold.
‘Welcome Home’ (Spike Jonze)
Spike Jonze’s filmography is sheer insanity and a masterclass in audiovisual creativity brimming with talent and great ideas. Among its large collection of short advertising pieces associated with major brands, this ‘Welcome Home’ stands out, in which Jonze partnered with Apple to promote the HomePod and, incidentally, dazzle with another technical and formal beam.
‘The Alphabet’ (David Lynch)
If you did not know his work in short format and David Lynch’s feature films already seem a real madness to you, grab the males, because the one from Missoula tends to get especially experimental. You just need to take a look at this mix of live action and animation in which Mr. Lynch translates a nightmare into images to understand well what I’m talking about.
‘Vivo in Joburg’ (Neill Blomkamp)
If you are fans of science fiction, you probably remember with special affection ‘District 9’, the great debut of South African Neill Blomkamp. Four years before the release of the feature film, Blomkamp planted his seed in ‘Live in Joburg’, a ‘lite’ version of ‘District 9’ and a “I’ll cook it, I’ll eat it” exercise for framing.
‘No Time’ (Darren Aronofsky)
Four years before busting heads at the Sundance Film Festival with his debut ‘Pi, Faith in Chaos’, Darren Aronofsky directed ‘No Time’, his first collaboration with his head cinematographer Matthew Libatique. 22 minutes that could well go through a bad acid trip but that the director’s faithful will appreciate how rare it is.
‘Yo! My Saint’ (Ana Lily Amirpour)
Not only Spike Jonze live the great brands. In 2018, the director Ana Lily Amirpour, responsible for the feature films ‘A girl comes home alone at night’ and ‘Carnal love’, teamed up with Kenzo and the leader of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs! Karen O to shape this piece in which fashion and music row in the same direction.
‘The Neighbors Window’ (Marshall Curry)
Although Marshall Curry’s professional career has always been linked to the documentary field, in which he has made feature films such as ‘Street Fight’ o ‘If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front’, both nominated for the Academy Award; it was his fictional narrative debut in live action with ‘The Neighbors Window’ which made him win his first Oscar this same 2020. Arrive and kiss the saint, which is often said.
‘Snow Steam Iron’ (Zack Snyder)
As a loyal Zack Snyder devotee, I couldn’t be missing from this selection This ultra-stylized savagery that the filmmaker directed in 2017 with the help of his children, an iPhone, an image stabilizer and a drone. The result was ‘Snow Steam Iron’: four minutes with all the thematic and visual hallmarks of the Snyder house that will delight its fans.
‘Night Fishing’ (Park Chan-wook, Park Chan-kyong)
Speaking of short films shot with iPhone, we could not forget ‘Night Fishing’, which was co-directed by the South Koreans Park Chan-wook y Park Chan-kyong. This rarity is considered as the first short film shot with an iPhone – in this case the 4 – which was released in theaters, and was awarded the award for best short film at the Berlin Film Festival 2011. You can see it in its entirety, with English subtitles, on the Park Chan-kyong website.
‘The Strange Thing About The Johnsons’ (Ari Aster)
Although not all viewers ended up fully communing with her, ‘Hereditary’, by Ari Aster, is one of the most brilliant first operas that horror cinema has left us in recent years. Before turning the genre upside down with his terrifying debut, The New Yorker has already impregnated his peculiar genetic code in this brutal short film.
‘Mirindas asesinas’ (Álex De la Iglesia)
And what better way to close this selection than how we started it: with a great from our cinema. Alex De la Iglesia debuted in 1990 with this delusional short film starring an immense Álex Angulo —Who we still miss a lot— and possessed of a tone and a bad temper that could only have come from the mind of the Basque filmmaker.