“Njan oru short film pidikkan povva!”
This is something most of us have heard or said at some point in our lives. In fact, the short film is often seen as a viable entry point for aspiring filmmakers, editors and actors. And it statistically makes sense too; we have seen a good chunk of popular feature filmmakers – from Wes Anderson and Christopher Nolan to Lijo Jose Pellissery and Basil Joseph – start off their careers with short films. This is primarily because of the economics: a team with little or no reputation would not possibly be able to put together a project on a huge scale. Apart from this, the short film format gives the director a lot of creative freedom to express (in a concise way) his thoughts, without stressing too much on characterisation and screenplay. Moreover, these films give the makers more leeway to explore unexplored, risky subjects.
A 2019 study by Microsoft concluded that the human attention span has reduced to 8 seconds. People are becoming increasingly impatient consumers of content. It is in this context that, I think, short films become increasingly relevant modes of mass communication. It is not an upcoming format by any means; Malayalam short films on Youtube have millions of views today. But this mainstreamisation has resulted in overcrowding in the space. It’s almost a Pareto (80-20) situation. 20% of the short films eat up 80% of the viewership, leaving many good short films falling short of their deserved numbers.
Two weeks ago, we had put out an Instagram story, asking for aspiring film artists and their well-wishers to send in short film entries for a post that would feature the best 9 shorts. The criteria for selection included the theme, performances, screenplay and an overall technical deftness.
This short film feature is an extension of this initiative: a push of validation for these creators. Because, simply put, they deserve it.
Without further ado, let’s get to the real deal: The Binge List!
Director: Kiran Josey
The titular character of the film (played by Thannermathan Dinangal fame Sajin Cherukayil) brings to our mind all the ‘Bineeshettans’ we encounter in our lives- the ones who shower uncomfortably high amounts of love and care, with absolutely no intentions of harm. The premise of a shared room and a corporate job provides for max relatability, and the effect is sustained by some nice acting and good frames.
The Fall Into Spring
Director: Athul Prabhakaran
The film explores the relationship between a single mother and her son, as they navigate through their own romantic endeavours in the modern world. The visual (read production) quality is fabulous, and the film is bolstered by the presence of yesteryear icon Amala.
Director: Jobin Joseph
A man walks out of a mall and into his car. Reading from his face, all’s not well…What transpires next, forms the plot of this taut film, that also happens to be one of the most technically sound films in this list. The cinematography by Rithin Joseph is top class. Also, do note that this film isn’t complete without its post credit scenes!
Director: Akshay AV Shyam
A man buys an umbrella, walks into a bus and dozes off, only to wake up and realise that his umbrella is missing. Melodrama covers the man’s attempts to retrieve his umbrella from a member in the bus. The confrontation and the resulting escalations seem extremely real (courtesy raw performances from Najjah and the supporting cast) and stands out as the film’s USP.
Director: Syam Bhaskaran
Set in the pre-independence era, this short follows a namboodhiri’s attempts to catch the culprit who sent his crush a love letter. It is a conversation-heavy film that deserves applause for its intricate characterisation – a rarity in short films!
Director: Jeffin Philip Sam
After a fun game of mafia, four men crash for the night. An unprecedented murder calls for a second round of the game the next morning: this time with more serious implications. This whodunit thriller – that follows a non-linear episodic format – will definitely keep you glued to your seat till the last frame!
Director: CJ Sales
CJ crafts a rustic folk tale surrounding a plaav, a chakka and their ownership disputes. The film oozes naadan vibes, and is elevated by its fun narrative and cinematography by Vijay Krishnan R. Definitely ticks all the right boxes for a breezy watch!
Director: Akshay Keecheri
Two boys, somewhere in a village in Kannur, are fascinated by the chikoo shake at the local parlour. A breezy short that brims with child-like innocence, this one stands out for the performances by the two leads (Mohd Jaseel, Adithyan) as well as a pleasant background score from Kishan Mohan and Nikhil Thomas. Also, watch out for a nice twist to one of the most popular film dialogues in recent times!
Director: Krishnadas Murali
A shivalingam goes missing. Krishna and Jesus are out to investigate the matter, and hilarity ensues. This Ponmutta Media – produced short falls bang into the mini-comedy sketch format: a perfect weekend binge!
Now, it is to be noted that the official short film definition (by the Academy) encompasses a runtime of 40 minutes, but we have shortened the length to make this list more bingeable for our followers. We will cover the longer films in a later post, so do look out for a part 2! And as always, do let us know your favourite short films in the comments below!