Short Cuts Programme Five by Russell Seton

MacKenzie Davis’ WOACA heralds this programme’s veneration for humanity’s unspoken daily traumas. Largely shot using a single camera set-up, a woman stands stoically before her bathroom mirror and performs her ablutions. Staring out from the mirror, directly at the viewer, the meticulous routine, normalized over her lifetime, grows increasingly excruciating. When a seemingly insignificant pimple appears, Davis takes aim at our culture’s beauty’s standards with gag-inducing glee. Hinting at our complicity, Davis resituates her literal audience as the majority against whom the character launches a self-reclaiming lavat-orgy.

The ensuing installments venture into urban spaces, following individuals marginalized from their homeland, and foregrounding the spectacle implied in WOACA. For example, Leonardo Martinelli’s A Bird Called Memory depicts how a transwoman’s experience is shaped by hostility embedded in local architecture; their struggle for identity incorporates a meta-commentary on genre, with the musical usurping privileged notions of realism. Similarly, in Sawo Matang, a legacy of colonialism relegates Native Indonesians (or Pribumi) to dystopian oddities.

The loss of self-expression is explored at a medical level in Marielle Dalpe’s animated Aphasia. Dalpe illustrates how this neurodegenerative disease affects communication via discordant sounds, minimalist bodies, and anarchistic collage. Female voices even dominate the installments narrated by men. The son of a nomadic Kurdish tribe reflects on “growing up in a woman’s world” in Ever Since, I Have Been Flying.  Honoring the stalwart females in his life, he credits his mother for cultivating in him the transmogrification that guarantees his survival. Using soft-focus cinematography, filmmaker Aylin Gokmen simulates both memory and the spirit of his mother’s mystical teachings.

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