Wednesday 18 December 2013

The Hedge Sculptor 3000 (2013)

Director: Adam Mariner
This film was a submission to one of the IFP Phoenix film challenges in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 submissions.
IFP Phoenix's new Mystery Box challenge certainly seemed to be just that for many teams: a challenge. Rather than provide the usual required line and prop for each team to use, it asked them to write their own to put in a hat and draw out at random. Adam Mariner may have cursed this concept as he realised what he'd been given, but it turned out to be a blessing as his film must have written itself. What would you come up with if you were tasked with making a short film featuring a pair of shears and the line, 'Is my vagina supposed to look like this?' If you're picturing a forty second infomercial with a bubbly blonde Kiwi in a flesh coloured bodysuit, you did precisely what Mariner did and it really is as funny, albeit also as predictable, as that seems. Unfortunately the credits only list the first names of those involved, with no roles to join them, so I have no idea who the young lady on screen is who makes the material shine, but she's perfectly cast for the role and she does a great job.

There's so little here that it would be easy to imagine nobody else did anything but her, but it isn't just the model and her lines, however well phrased and delivered they happen to be. The technical folk only had to match the style of a cheesy pitch and cheesy pitches aren't particularly renowned for their magic cinematography or their stunning sound. They tend to be more about pointing the camera in the right direction and keeping out of the way so that the model can do her job. That's what Mariner's crew do here and it works fine. The artiest they get is to start in black and white and the cleverest they get is to set up some neat pixellation to avoid censure by the networks, even though it's completely obvious that the model is less naked than anyone watching. Of course this means that the shoutouts are for people not shining, which is an odd scenario for a critic to find himself writing up. This was never going to win anything except best use of line, but that was always pretty safe. It's a fun wrap up for a set of shorts.

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