The Short Film Competition

in 52nd International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg

by Annika Koppel

The short film competition at the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival consisted of seven short films. The standard was very high.

The FIPRESCI jury award was given to “Revolution” (Revolucion) by Martin Rosete (Spain) based on a short story by Slawomir Mrozek. The wonderful actor Miguel Rellan plays the only character in this unique, stylistically interesting, witty and intellectually challenging short film. Its message is that sometimes revolutions start within your own walls. You can move furniture around or even sleep in a wardrobe instead of sleeping in the bed, but you will always be back at square one: the situation after the revolution is before the revolution.

One of the favorites of the FIPRESCI jury was also “Family Business” (Perebisnes) by Andrus Tuisk (Estonia) which finally won the main prize of the international jury. This is a story with unexpected twists and turns and the actors Lembit Ulfsak, Jan Uuspöld, Piret Laurimaa are really good in their roles. At first sight it seems like a kind of scenario by Tarantino – in the opening scene two men are shooting at each other. Then a woman and a little girl with a teddy bear come in. The woman acts provocatively and the little girl asks: “Why are they holding guns?” – “They are men, they love to stare at guns”, the woman replies. If the guns were pulled out, there would be shooting… but the story ends not as the viewer expects.

“The Telegram” (Le Télégramme) by Coralie Fargeat (France) has a magnificent cast especially the old crippled postman who is walking slowly along the village holding a telegram firmly in his hand, and of course the women, whose sons are at war and who are sitting together by the window, following the postman’s progress along the street, drinking tea and being worried about whose doorbell the postman is going to ring. They are full of hope and fear and the viewer is caught by the same feelings, they encourage each other and envy each other, but the postman is already near to their door. The plot is almost perfectly developed and brilliantly realized as a film.

The fourth film I like to mention is “The Trip” (El viaje) by Toni Bestard (Spain) because of its stunningly beautiful images, its unusual plot and the weird but warm humour. In this black and white film two boys find somewhere on a rubbish plant a dead junkie. The man seems to be smiling as if he has seen something beautiful. Is not death a journey? The boys dress the dead man in a light summer shirt and find some other things he might need on his journey through eternity.