York film fest day 3: the unwatchable and unmissable

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The trailer for Bertie Crisp: “my new super hero”

Review: The Aesthetica Short Film Festival
Day 3: Saturday, November 10


Today’s trawl through the ASFF films on show started at the top of Micklegate, at Bar Lane Studios, and what I hoped would be something from the art section. I arrived just after 11am with an hour to fill before animation screening 3 was due to start in the Bar Lane basement at 12pm.

I was disappointed to find that the art films were being shown on TV’s with headphones in the main Bar Lane gallery area (pictured below right). It was very busy and noisy but I managed to sit in an armchair in front of a TV and plopped the headphones on my head.

I’m not sure what the film I was watching was called, it might had been The Future Of Art In A Post Digital Age as that was on a card on top of the telly. But it became obvious after about five minutes that this was unwatchable, not because the film was bad but because with the sun streaming in the gallery space, the reflections from the sun were so bright it made it almost impossible to see anything.

I hung on in there for another few minutes before giving up and as all of the other TVs were taken I decided to pop over the road into the Micklegate Bar Museum and see what was on offer there.

The room in the museum that the films were being delivered in was up two flights of steep stairs but this was a lovely place to show film, surrounded by artefacts and suits of armour. One was about to start as I arrived so I settled down on the back row of the wooden benches that all had jolly Union Jack cushions on, only to notice that the film that had just started was the superb The Sugar Bowl that I’d seen on the opening night.

Knowing that the film was 20 minutes long I decided not to watch it again but to go back to Bar Lane Studios in the hope of grabbling a seat to watch some of the art films. On my return I looked for a TV that was in a shaded part of the gallery and out of the sun, I managed to sit in front of a telly that was showing “artists screening 2” films and I caught the last five minutes of Samuel Dowd’s Bare Breath which looked stunning and I made a note to see all of the full 20 minutes as soon as I could.

The audio and music track was spoilt by the general noise of the Bar Lane café with people talking and in particularly the bloody radio blaring out pop music.
Ian’s rating: ★★★★

The next film was Pieter Greenen’s Nocturne #2 (2012) a film using long images that were filmed on mobile phones where nothing seems to happening, I couldn’t tell if there was a audio track because of the noise but the more I watched this film the more I got engrossed and if showed in a correct and sympathetic venue (which clearly Bar Lane is not) this film could be fantastic.
Ian’s rating: ★★★★

It was now time to head down to the Bar Lane basement for animation screening 3. This was a large room that was nice and dark although the first chair I sat in on the back row had almost no view of the screen, so I moved to an aisle seat that I could move the chair once the films started. There was the obligatory group of irritating teenager girls in front of me chatting through the first film until I told them to be quiet, they thankfully left after the third film.

Here is a brief one line review of each of the eight films shown:

Thora (2011) – a delightful, three-minute about Thora and her protector, the beast Soloman Score
Ian’s rating: ★★★

999.999.999 (2011) – futuristic clap trap that I didn’t understand
Ian’s rating: ★★

Life And Stuff (2011) – Kumar Satkunarasa’s brilliant take on life from birth to death in under 5 minutes, amazing
Ian’s rating: ★★★★★

Shattered Past (2011) – a man reliving his past as he suffers a stroke, sorry I was bored
Ian’s rating: ★★

Bertie Crisp (2011) is my new super hero, I love him and want to see him replacing Family Guy
Ian’s rating: ★★★★★

Brave New Old (2012) – it didn’t make any sense to me and I was glad when it was over
Ian’s rating:

Above As Below (2011) – very short, makes its point perfectly and is incredibly sad
Ian’s rating: ★★★★

The Guest (2010) – a lovely little Danish film that is very witty
Ian’s rating: ★★★

"Amazing": Life And Death

After crawling into the light from Bar Lane’s basement, it was time for lunch and as my youngest son and his girlfriend are in York for the weekend we met up at Plunkets where the food was as good as ever, even if the service post main course was very slow.

I then went to Barley Hall for documentary screening 1. Now Barley Hall is a wonderful room but not for showing film. No concession had been made to the layout of the room to watch these films. I managed to watch Heilig (2011) as the subtitles were minimal, this is a fantastic true story about a Jewish refugee and his parents.
Ian’s rating: ★★★★

But when it came to watch the next film Architecture Alive, I have no idea what was said because no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t see the subtitles, so not wanting to leave mid-film I waited until the end and moved on
Unable to score

My next venue was the City Screen basement, for thriller screening 2 where I had a fantastic view of the screen and everything was perfect (well almost – a silly girl with shopping bags that everyone tripped over while she seemed unwilling to move them). Here again is the brief one line reviews of each of the 5 films shown.

Augenblicke (2011)– a German film that was brilliantly shot and had real threat
Ian’s rating: ★★★

Dystopia St (2011) – I’ll never get those ten minutes and 40 seconds back
Ian’s rating:

Hostage (2011) – well done but seen it all before
Ian’s rating:

Welcome To Leathermill (2011) – superb! This reminded me of Hammer house of Horror and the Wicker Man with a twist
Ian’s rating: ★★★★

La Reverberacion (2012) Not really a thriller just a weird film that sort of goes off the rails after six minutes
Ian’s rating: ★★

My last screening of the day was in the Mansion House which is a fantastic place to show film. The room was packed, large with a big screen and good sound system and I was hoping to watch as many of the films in drama screening 9 as time would allow.

In the end I only managed the first one, Low (2009) by Michelle Fox, which was a contemporary film about a brief connection between two cancer patients which was very poignant.
Ian’s rating: ★★★

Low from Michelle Fox on Vimeo.

This was because I needed to leave to go to see Alexie Sayle perform at The Shed in Hovingham, but fear not dear reader I’ve decided that tomorrow, the last day of the festival, will be all comedy, experimental, Yorkshire Film Archive and another attempt to see the art films in a better location.



Ian J Cole
Ian J Cole is a composer, sound designer and producer who splits his time between writing experimental music and being the creative force behind the pop group Katie And The Questions

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