FFF Day 3 Steve & Holly Join Us For Shorts Program 4, The Last Race & Delicious Ethiopian Food

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Steve, Holly & Mrs. LanceAround Enjoy Ethiopian Food & Conversation

Once again our good friends Steve and Holly joined Mrs. LanceAround and I for a wonderful evening of film and food. After enjoying Shorts Program 4 and The Last Race, we headed to Nile Ethiopian Restaurant on I-Drive to have a communal feast while we discussed the movies we had just seen. Here are some notes from our discussions about the films.

This was the first time Steve and Holly had seen a program of live action shorts. Steve found it enjoyable, even though some of the films were dark and intense. He loved going from one movie to the other. Holly, on the other hand, found the pace of going from one movie to a different movie a little disturbing. She was still thinking about what happened in the last film when the next film began. We all agreed that it would have been better to have a slightly longer pause between movies, kind of like cleansing the palette, Steve noted.

Painting with Joan
Hilarious spoof of PBS’s famous painter Bobby Ross. Steve found it very “cool.” Holly enjoyed it as well. Although all of us agreed that it could have been developed a lot more.

Emergency
A totally wasted, young white girl wanders into the wrong home and passes out on the living room floor. The two black men who live there come home and debate how to handle this situation. It seems obvious they should call 911, however, being black, they worry about what might happen when the police arrive and find two black men with a passed out white woman on the floor. Steve was really touched by the ending when one black man realizes that calling 911 was the right thing to do. I, on the other hand, had a different interpretation thinking that the character’s realization was more along the lines of what might have gone wrong. The fact that this movie invoked such a prolonged discussion tells you how powerful it is.

After Her
The filmmaker was in attendance for this short. Creative filming techniques created a somewhat sci-fi atmosphere. Several of us found it difficult to follow the story line, which diminished the impact of this film. Holly noted that it was helpful to have the filmmaker available for questions after the show.

Control
The first thing Steve noted was that one theatre goer ran out of the theatre crying after watching this short about a woman contemplating suicide. It speaks to not only how realistic this short was, but how it was also painful to sit through.  Three quarters of the way through the film I realized the entire movie had zero dialogue. It’s a real testament to the power of this film that it could successfully convey everything without a spoken word. We all agreed that we really enjoyed this movie, although “enjoy” might not be the right word. That said, in addition to it’s emotional theme, it was also amusing.

Men Don’t Whisper
A very funny tale about a gay couple who try to prove their manhood by sleeping with two females at a convention. Holly did not enjoy it very much but I found it hysterical. Very reminiscent of TV’s Modern Family.

Home Shopper
Holly really liked this film about how a woman who appears to be addicted to home shopping but may actually have ulterior motives for all her purchases. Were her actions intentional? This thought never occurred to Mrs. LanceAround and I. The unexpected twists made this short both funny and thought provoking. The actor who portrayed the husband was especially powerful in his ability to convey a character in such a short time with just a few lines.

Sweet & Lo
All of us found the movie very weird. “What were those characters supposed to be?” No one could answer that question. It appeared to be some kind of government plot that created mutants. In some respects, it felt like a knock off of TV’s hit series Stranger Things.

Winter’s Watch
Steve really enjoyed this movie. He liked the cinematography. Perhaps it was a minute or two too long, but the concept of having a lonely job was well conveyed. In fact, Steve noted that he would have enjoyed having a job where you live alone in a resort over the winter to watch over the empty property.

The Last Race
Steve confesses to being a little ADHD. So as I watched him occasionally shift in his seat during this full length documentary, I worried that, like me, he might be finding this film a tad tiresome. So I was genuinely surprised when, at the end of the movie, he proclaimed how much he loved it.

While it was a really beautifully filmed movie about the last remaining NASCAR racetrack on Long Island (a place that used to boast over 40 different tracks just a few decades ago) the film did not have much narrative as it put you in the center of the action with breathtaking shots of races and racers during an average visit to the track. In addition to excellent cinematography, the sound editing was suburb. One memorable scene involved a race car owner who’s day job was in pest control. As he sprayed a colony of wasps, the filmmaker and sound technician got a haunting shot of a wasp as it dizzily buzzed and sputtered in a futile attempt to evade the poison it had just ingested.

For Steve, the movie brought back all the memories of his childhood days at the drag racetracks owned by his father and uncle. So enticing was the action, he found himself being transported back to a time where he remembered the smell of the car exhaust and the roar of the crowd.

The aging owners of the Riverhead Raceway know that it won’t be long before they have to leave the sport. The plot of land that houses the track has already been encapsulated by urban growth and their land is now valued at over $10 million dollars. But they stubbornly hold on to adrenaline seeking fans and family who have called this asphalt oval home for generations.

If you are a race car enthusiast, you will love this film. If not, you will appreciate the artistry with which the documentarian gives you an up close, real life experience of a dying world.

Steve’s reaction to this film, “I could watch the whole thing over again right now! I couldn’t look away.” What a perfect review.

Good Friends, Good Films, Good Food
After the movies, we took them to Nile Ethiopian Restaurant. Steve and Holly had never experienced an authentic Ethiopian meal before. The unusual method of serving all the food in little clumps on a piece of injera bread in the middle of a large platter was a strange site. Without utensils, we folded the bread over some food and ate with our fingers in a communal setting that helped to foster more conversation and real sense of camaraderie.

It was the perfect ending to another amazing day at the FFF.

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