Review: Aesthetica Short Film Festival, day one: Diverse documentaries

The Beatles at Abbey Road, from
The Beatles at Abbey Road, from
The Beatles, from The Other Side Of The Road

Ian ColeAs York hosts a world of film again Ian J Cole set off in search of new cinematic territory

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) officially started on Thursday, November 7, with the opening bash at the City Screen. I missed it this year but I don’t expect it was very different to last year with dodgy speeches, free wine, a selection of short films, goody bags and a ropy after show party that is all too Hollywood for me (see last year’s review for details).

The first full day of the ASFF (Friday) started with a trip up to venue 5 at Monk Bar Museum which is one of the stranger ASFF venues with tourists wandering round museum exhibitions while the films are being shown.

This included a rather large man who walked in front of the screen more than once which was a little irritating.

The venues are ASFF’s strength and weakness, some are amazing and quirky, others are just wrong. Monk Bar Museum is very uncomfortable after the first ten minutes because I was sat on what can only be called a pouffe (or square ottoman with no back support according to an online dictionary).

I was able to move to the back row after the first two films which luckily had some back support so I didn’t need a trip to the osteopath’s.

This first block of short films were all documentaries (there is usually five or six films in a particular screening) with the first film being a documentary about the birthplace of Gilbert Prousch of Gilbert & George fame.

Who Is Gilbert Prousch was an fascinating film about a tiny Italian village who didn’t treat Gilbert very well while he lived there. Their museum’s room dedicated to contemporary art has to be seen to be believed.

Ian’s rating: ★★★★

Next up was an enlightening film, Born Positive, about three young Londoners who were born with HIV. It was poignant, sad, lyrical and shocking in places.

Ian’s rating: ★★★

Next was a strange film Ole Hansen: The Salmon Smoker about a chap in Stoke Newington who smokes salmon. I didn’t really get it but luckily it was only five minutes long so not enough time to get bored.

Ian’s rating:

The fourth offering was a film I saw last year, Abuelas. I gave it five stars last year and wasn’t really looking forward to seeing it again – but it is worth see twice. Absolutely brilliant.

Ian’s rating: ★★★★★

Next on screen was a fantastic little document about the people who live on Abbey Road in London near where The Beatles had their famous photo shoot. The Other Side of The Road reveals that there is never any rest from the fans wanting to recreate the Abbey Road album cover.

Ian’s rating: ★★★★

The last film in this screening was a boring film about the Dutch artist Toer Van Schaijk A Small Episode who mumbled while painting one of his canvases. It was well shot but didn’t tell the viewer anything about the artist or his art which was a shame and a missed opportunity.

Ian’s rating: