Short Films : 25 MUST-SEE short films!

25 MUST-SEE short films!

25 MUST-SEE SHORT FILMS:

Though they are shorts, every film listed below is very much worth watching. Most - if not all - are available to view online, so try GoogleVideo or just ask me; I'll be more than happy to provide a link.
Not all listed films have comments, simply because I've never formally reviewed them. Order doesn't really matter (except for my top ten), so don't get upset about your favourite film's placing. Also, feel free to make a recommendation!

25) L’ Arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat {Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat}
Year: 1895; Director: Auguste Lumière, Louis Lumière; Country: France
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000012/

There doesn't seem to be anything particularly exciting about an approaching steam locomotive, but somehow this image has stuck, the first iconic scene in cinematic history. The 50-second long film, like most other Lumière shorts, successfully captures a brief snippet of everyday life, chronicling the gradual approach of the train, its slow to a halt, and the disembarkment of its passengers.
Auguste and Louis Lumière obviously recognised the power of illusion offered by their Cinématographe. In order to maximise the shock value of the approaching train, they have mounted the camera as close as possible to the edge of the platform, so that the audience feels as if they are almost standing right in the locomotive's path.
For many years, there has been an enduring myth than, upon the first screening of the film, the audience was so overwhelmed by the image of the train bearing down upon them that they fled the room in terror. This has been shown to be something of an embellishment, though the film would undoubtedly have astounded and mesmerised audiences.

24) Harvie Krumpet
Year: 2003; Director: Adam Elliot; Country: Australia
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382734/

Harvie Krumpet (born Harvek Milos Krumpetzki in 1922) has perhaps the worst luck in the world. Afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome from birth, he has always found it difficult to fit in. When his mother and father freeze to death outside their burnt-down home, and World War II comes to his native Poland, Harvie emigrates to Spotswood, Australia to start a new life.
In 2004, Adam Elliot's 'Harvie Krumpet' caused a sensation in Australia when it was awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Elliot's poignant depiction of a man finding a reason to live amidst a life fraught with bad luck had a profound effect on audiences. Created entirely using claymation – a wonderful art that is growing scarcer with the advent of CGI animation – the film is great to look at, and narrated by the warm voice of Geoffrey Rush.

23) WhatÂ’s Opera, Doc?
Year: 1957; Director: Chuck Jones; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382734/
*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

Disney animation legend Chuck Jones' 'Merrie Melodies' short, 'What's Opera, Doc?,' is a pleasant and enjoyable cartoon tribute to the classic operas that have inspired audiences for generations. The film features the voice talents of Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan, voicing the classic Disney characters of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, respectively. As we all know, Elmer's primary preoccupation is "hunting wabbits," and, in this film, he plans to do so as the demigod Siegfried, using the mighty powers of his "spear and magic helmet.”
The seven-minute film is essentially an operatic parody of Richard Wagner's operas, particularly 'Der Ring des Nibelungen / The Ring of the Nibelung.' Several pieces of Wagner's music are used in the film, to great effect, as both characters sing their lines in tune to the classic score.
Quite surprisingly, the film ends with the death of Bugs Bunny, and with Elmer instantly regretful for the death he has caused, marking one of those rare occasions when Elmer has actually succeeded in "killing the wabbit!" Luckily, however, despite the unavoidable tragic opera conclusion, good old Bugs eases our worries by raising his head in the final seconds to declare, "Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?"

22) Balance
Year: 1989; Director: Christoph Lauenstein, Wolfgang Lauenstein; Country: West Germany
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096880/
*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

'Balance,' the Academy Award-winning animated short from German twin brothers Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein, is a fascinating film. Five identical men (differentiated only by the numbers written on their backs) stand together on a mysterious unstable platform which balances precariously in space. When one man changes his position, the other four must also do so to maintain the intricate balance that is keeping them all alive. However, when one man recovers a cryptic musical chest from below, each person desires to examine it, their selfish wants eventually destroying the teamwork that is sustaining them.
The animation itself, though perhaps minimalist in style, is perfect for the mood of the film. The five characters are tall, straight and virtually identical, each with gaunt white, Nosferatu-like faces.
The final image of the film is poignant and haunting, as a single remaining individual (notably #23, the only prime number of the group), stands precariously on the perfectly-balanced platform, the chest unreachable on the far side. Thanks to his own selfishness, #23 now finds himself unable to move even an inch, lest the perfect equilibrium be broken. It is a worrying, and all-too-accurate, allegory for the human conditionÂ…

21) Gertie the Dinosaur
Year: 1914; Director: Winsor McCay; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0004008/

Often erroneously touted as the first animation film ever made (J. Stuart Blackton's 'An Enchanted Drawing' of 1900 takes that title), Gertie the Dinosaur remains, to this day, a charming example of early animation. The live-action segments bookending the animation scenes involve a group of real-life animators portraying themselves, as one of them, Winsor McCay, bets George McManus that he can make a "Dinosaurus" live again by a series of hand-drawn cartoons.
During dinner, McCay introduces his young, playful female Apatosaurus named Gertie. She emerges somewhat tentatively from her cave, before proceeding to swallow a rock and then an entire tree. As McCay gives her instructions from off-screen, Gertie attempts to follow them, though her endless enthusiasm for mischief often leads her master to scold her.
Just as the film explicitly states, the animation of Gertie required about ten thousand hand-drawn images (by both McCay and his assistant, John A. Fitzsimmons, who traced the backgrounds), which they inked on rice paper and mounted on cardboard. In the film, it took McCay six months.

20) 12:01 PM
Year: 1990; Director: Jonathon Heap; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098962/

Imagine that, for some inexplicable reason, the entire Universe has been set to a continuous time loop. As soon as the specified time is over, everything in the Universe is reversed back to where it was, the loop restarts, and nobody even realises that this is happening over and over and over againÂ… except for you. If, in your mind's eye, you've already formulated a mental image of a frustrated-looking Bill Murray and a cute little groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, then you can be forgiven for the oversight. I am not referring to the hit 1993 film 'Groundhog Day,' but to a fascinating short film from three years earlier entitled '12:01 PM.'
'12:01 PM' is based on a short story of the same name, written by Richard A. Lupoff and published in the December 1973. The film stars Kurtwood Smith as Myron Castleman, a meek office worker who finds himself stuck in the aforementioned predicament. However, unlike Bill Murray, Myron is only afforded 59 minutes at a time before the inevitable loop repeats itself. Desperate to uncover an explanation for the maddening phenomenon, he eventually seeks the help of a physicist, Prof. Nathan Rosenbluth (Don Amendolia), who had predicted the "time bounce."
Stunningly acted by Smith, and astoundingly clever and original in its execution, '12:01 PM' is an intriguing science-fiction short, sometimes funny and sometimes terrifying.

19) Feed the Kitty
Year: 1952; Director: Chuck Jones; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044609/
*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

'Feed the Kitty' is a relatively well-known short amongst animation enthusiasts, and the first to feature two of Chuck Jones' lesser known characters – the loving bulldog Marc Antony and the cute, little kitten named Pussyfoot.
Marc Antony and his sleepy, newfound friend Pussyfoot get into all sorts of adventures, the most memorable occurring when the former believes his feline friend to have been accidentally blended and baked by his mistress to make cookies. The final minutes of the film are very touching, as an anguished Marc Antony watches the blending through blood-shot eyes, the slightest peek causing him to faint on the spot
This is one of the best examples of personality animation that I've seen; the sheer raw emotion shown by Marc Antony, as he carries a kitten-shaped cookie on his back, is simply unforgettable, and his elation upon discovering that Pussyfoot is alive and well is equally memorable. This is a highly recommended animated short that will touch you surprisingly deeply.

18) The Great Train Robbery
Year: 1903; Director: Edwin S. Porter; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000439/

17) Zhil-byl pyos {There was a Dog}
Year: 1981; Director: Eduard Nazarov; Country: Soviet Union
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0216434/

Eduard Nazarov's 'Zhil-byl pyos' (or, alternatively, ‘There was a Dog’) is based upon a classic Ukrainian fairytale that told of a dog making friends with a wolf, re-enforcing the age-old wisdom that good is always rewarded by good. When the clumsy and lazy domestic dog (voiced by Georgi Burkov) is banished from his home after neglecting to stop a burglar, he depressingly retreats into the forest and seems as though he is about to hang himself. However, a wheezy old wolf (Armen Dzhigarkhanyan) manages to talk him out of it, and he offers the dog his assistance in reclaiming the love of his family.
The following winter, the dog, long ago returned to his home, hears the mournful howls of the wolf, and he follows the sound. He finds the wolf huddled cold, weak and hungry amidst the snow, and so sets about returning the favour that had saved his life previously.
A combination of wonderful animation and a touching morality tale makes 'Zhil-byl pyos' one of the finest Russian animated shorts that I've seen.

16) One Froggy Evening
Year: 1955; Director: Chuck Jones; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048449/

Released on December 31 1955 as part of the Warner Brothers' 'Merrie Melodies' series, 'One Froggy Evening' is one of the most highly-regarded of all cartoons, voted #5 of all time in 1994 by members of the animation field.
A 1950s construction worker has just completed demolishing a building built in 1892. Hidden in a cornerstone, he discovers a small box containing a tired frog, which eases itself into the open air and, surprisingly, bursts into full song, performing "Hello! Ma baby," in an act complete with a top hat and cane. Notions of fame and wealth pass through the construction worker's mind, and he snatches the frog to be used in his money-making schemes. There is one problem, however, and we would find out. This flamboyant amphibian performer refuses to display his talent in front of anybody else.
Though unnamed at the time of the cartoon's release, director Chuck Jones later dubbed his frog "Michigan J. Frog" after one of the songs he performs. The voice behind the frog was long considered a mystery, but the 'Looney Tunes Golden Collection' credits the vocals to baritone Bill Roberts, who was a Los Angeles nightclub entertainer in the 1950s.

15) Un chien andalou {An Andalusian Dog}
Year: 1929; Director: Luis Buñuel; Country: France
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0020530/

14) Shoulder Arms
Year: 1918; Director: Charles Chaplin; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0009611/

Charles Chaplin's 'Shoulder Arms' of 1918 was his longest film to date, though, at just over 45 minutes in length, it was not quite a feature film. With World War One just drawing to a close, many popular entertainers of the time were doing their part to inspire their native troops, and Chaplin was no exception. And so the lovable Tramp went to war!
The film begins with the Tramp in training, and the character is hilariously inept at even the simplest military drills, including marching and gun-slinging, much to the disgust of his drill sergeant. The Tramp then finds himself in the trenches, faced with a more formidable foe, though the Germans eventually turn out of be infinitely more incompetent than even he. The uproarious moment when the Tramp declares that he single-handedly captured thirteen German soldiers by "surrounding them" will have you in stitches.
However, the most memorable scenes in the film undoubtedly involve Chaplin skulking behind enemy lines disguised as a tree. The reactions of the bumbling German soldiers, unknowingly just metres from a sworn enemy, as they are single-handedly disabled one-by-one, are highly amusing, especially when one soldier grapples an axe with the intention of cutting down a tree for firewood.

13) Frankenstein
Year: 1910; Director: J. Searle Dawley; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0001223/
*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

The first adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic horror novel, 'Frankenstein,' this 16 minute short by Edison Studios, remains a hidden cinematic gem, brimming with imagination and clever production values for its day. The film was considered long-lost for many decades, However, in the mid-1970s, it was revealed that a Wisconsin film collector, Alois F. Dettlaff, had been sitting on a print of the film since the 1950s, unaware of its rarity.
Though keeping with Mary Shelley's basic premise, the film deviates quite significantly from the source material. A young, brilliant student, Victor Frankenstein (Augustus Phillips), returns from college, fascinated with the concepts of life and death. It isn't long before he has discovered the secret of life, and so he attempts to create the "most perfect human being that the world has yet known."
The birth of the Monster itself (Charles Ogle) is a surprisingly frightening spectacle. As Frankenstein observes expectantly through a hole in the chamber, the hideously-disfigured shadow of the Monster rises ominously from the fiery cauldron, wreathed in flames and flailing violently amidst the heat.
The film's carefully-planned final scene, played out in front of a mirror, is also very memorable. Rejected for the final time by his "father," the hideous Monster stands before the mirror with its arms wide, as if imploring the reflection to consume him. He eventually fades from existence, though we can still clearly see his likeness in the mirror's reflection. Frankenstein rushes into the room and peers into the mirror, stunned to discover – not his own likeness – but that of his Monster, suggesting the tantalising possibility that his Monster represents the "evil" side of the scientist’s personality, the monster within the man.
*** Continued Below ***

Last Film Seen:
* Duck Soup (1933, Leo McCarey) – (7/10)

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!


12) Le Voyage dans la lune {A Trip to the Moon}
Year: 1902; Director: Georges Méliès; Country: France
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000417/

11) More
Year: 1998; Director: Mark Osborne; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0188913/
*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

Frequently held as one of the most emotionally-affecting animated short films ever made – and rightly so – Mark Osborne's 'More' is a poignant allegory for Mankind's everlasting search for happiness. The main character is a depressed factory worker living in a grey and dreary metropolis, whose only sanctuary exists within his dreams, as he recalls the bliss of childhood. Wanting to help those around him, our character invents a pair of special glasses, into which he places a few drops of his own inner happiness, spreading bliss and contentment to everybody in the city. He becomes rich and famous for his invention – the world's greatest inventor! – but ultimately finds that it has come at the cost of his own happiness. By sharing it around to everybody, he has diluted the bright light within himself to nothing.
Many modern short films are simply produced to tell a quick story, straightforward and insignificant. Others, like 'More,' attempt so much more than this, and it is truly remarkable that, in just six minutes, Osborne has endeavored to explore the very meaning of life. Whether he has succeeded or not is left entirely to the viewer, but here is certainly a film that leaves you with plenty to think about.

10) Nuit et brouillard {Night and Fog}
Year: 1955; Director: Alain Resnais; Country: France
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048434/

Perhaps the most powerful non-fiction Holocaust film ever made, Alain Resnais' 'Night and Fog' is a truly shocking glimpse into the horrors of the Jewish concentration camps of World War Two. Released just ten years after the liberation of the camps, with the memories of the Holocaust still frighteningly raw, the film combines black-and-white archival footage and still images with colour footage filmed at the decaying Auschwitz site in 1955. What results is a truly horrifying account, its power undiminished by time or the release of countless other Holocaust pictures over the years.
The director of this film knows how indescribable the horrors of the Holocaust are. The narrator, Michel Bouquet, often speaks with an air of skepticism or irony, often remarking "(it is) useless to describe what went on in these cells," or, "words are insufficient," or "no description, no picture can reveal their true dimension." The archive footage is used mainly to speak for itself, supplemented by Bouquet's astringent, matter-of-fact narration. By contrasting the repulsion of these images with the tranquil silence of the modern colour footage, Resnais reinforces his assertion that today it is effectively impossible to imagine what these unfortunate detainees were forced to endure.
The Holocaust is a terrible event that everybody should be educated about, if we are to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes again. Of all the films that must be seen to gain even a fragmentary understanding of the incident, Alain Resnais' 'Night and Fog' remains the most significant. This is not the most pleasant of films to watch, but everybody should view it at least once.

9) Yozhik v tumane {Hedgehog in the Fog}
Year: 1975; Director: Yuriy Norshteyn; Country: Soviet Union
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073099/

8) Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora {The Cameraman's Revenge}
Year: 1912; Director: Wladyslaw Starewicz; Country: Russia
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0001527/

An absurdly hilarious and strikingly human tale of the jealousies and infidelities surrounding a beetle marriage, Russian animation pioneer Wladyslaw Starewicz's "Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora" ("The Cameraman's Revenge", or "The Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman") is a delight of early animation, brimming with highly-effective stop-motion puppetry and no shortage of imagination.
Mr. and Mrs. Beetle have a completely uneventful marriage, and both yearn for more excitement in their lives. Mr. Beetle's desires can only be satisfied by the beautiful exotic dancer at the "Gay Dragonfly" night club, whom he visits whenever he takes a "business trip" to the city. She is the only one who understands him. A fellow admirer of this dancer, an aggressive grasshopper, is jealous that Mr. Beetle has stolen his lady and, as fate would have it, he is also a movie cameraman. The devious grasshopper follows Mr. Beetle and his acquaintance to a hotel room, where he films their exploits through the keyhole.
This film may appear to be a mere story of the comings-and-goings of a miniscule insect species, but Starewicz is communicating so much more than that. This isn't a story about beetles – it is a story about us. And it's startlingly accurate, isn't it?!

7) GeriÂ’s Game
Year: 1997; Director: Jan Pinkava; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0131409/

6) The Old Man and the Sea
Year: 1999; Director: Aleksandr Petrov; Country: Russia-Canada-Japan
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0207639/

Based on Ernest Hemingway's 1952 novella of the same name, Aleksandr Petrov's 'The Old Man and the Sea' is a masterpiece of animated short films, taking a classic story and offering it a beauty that only Petrov could accomplish. Completed over two and a half years, the film was created using paint-on-glass animation, a technique which uses slow-drying pastel oil paints on glass sheets. Running for approximately 20 minutes, the film is comprised of more than 29,000 paintings, each frame a veritable work of art.
The film traces the fortunes of an old man named Santiago, who has had a proud, adventure-filled life, and now whittles away his days fishing alone on the ocean, usually without catching anything. On this particular fishing trip, Santiago comes up against a magnificent marlin, which takes the bait but refuses to give in. The old man feels that, despite he and the fish being brothers, it is his duty to kill the marlin, and only in doing so can he prove his worth.
The wonderful animation of 'The Old Man and the Sea' is startlingly realistic, but the effect of the oil-on-glass also gifts it with a certain dream-like quality. The moment when the struggling marlin tries unsuccessfully to escape by hurtling itself magnificently into the open air is truly affecting. The beauty of this film must be seen to be believed, and the 2000 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film was certainly not undeserved.

5) Sherlock Jr.
Year: 1924; Director: Buster Keaton; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015324/

Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton) is something of a hopeless case. He works clumsily as a cinema projectionist, but instead yearns to be a detective, not unlike the great Sherlock Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's riveting tales. In the time when he's supposed to be working, he reads books about 'How To Be A Detective' and searches for dollar bills in the piles of rubbish scattered across the theatre floor. A depressed Sherlock slumbers off to sleep at the beginning of a detective film. It is here, as Sherlock awakens into a dream, that he is able to – in a clever triumph of imagination and visual effects – step into the detective movie, and become Sherlock Jr. – the world's greatest detective!
This is a highly imaginative film, brimming with Keaton's trademark slapstick humour and mind-blowing stunt work. Sherlock Jr. finds himself, at one point, running along the roof of a departing train, before he is forced to seize the large tube connected to a water basin, which promptly lets forth a violent gush of water (Keaton famously fractured his neck whilst performing this stunt, though he didn't realize it until a doctor diagnosed him in the 1930s).
This is a highly-entertaining short film from Buster Keaton (at 44 minutes, it is not quite a feature-length film), and it moves along at such a rip-roaring pace that you never find yourself bored or uninterested. Keaton was never afraid to do his own stunt work, and his dedication to the medium was unmistakably evident in his films, rightly making him one of the most popular of all silent film comedy actors.

4) Le Voyage à travers l'impossible {The Impossible Voyage}
Year: 1904; Director: Georges Méliès; Country: France
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000499/

Released in 1904, cinematic magician Georges Méliès' 'Le Voyage à travers l'impossible / The Impossible Voyage' often stands in the shadow of the filmmaker's earlier success 'Le Voyage dans la lune / A Trip to the Moon (1902),' which has long-since earned itself the label of a cinematic classic. In many ways, however, 'Le Voyage à travers l'impossible' is a superior film, brimming with stunning set and model-work, creative visual effects, an exciting around-the-world journey and no shortage of imagination!
At 24 minutes in length (which was almost unheard of at the time), 'Le Voyage à travers l'impossible' was no doubt heavily inspired by its more famous predecessor, as well as Jules Verne and Adolphe d'Ennery's play of the same name.
Like most of Méliès' films, the narrative is played out like a stage play, with the story usually divided into various distinct one-take scenes, the camera settled at a distance from the action. The first few minutes of the film are concerned with organising this "impossible voyage," which will entail the use of every known means of locomotion – including trains, automobiles, dirigible balloons, submarines and boats.
Some viewers may find it difficult to accept this film's questionable take on science and logic, but this all adds to the charm of it. Méliès – a master of magician's tricks, puffs of smoke and impossible disappearances – was never concerned with reality, but with transporting his audiences into a world quite unlike their own. In an era where so many directors were neither daring nor imaginative enough to make the impossible happen on screen, 'Le Voyage à travers l'impossible' is the pinnacle of early film-making.

3) The Old Mill
Year: 1937; Director: Wilfred Jackson; Country: USA
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029339/

2) La Jetée {The Pier}
Year: 1962; Director: Chris Marker; Country: France
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056119/

Comprised almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs, every singular frame of Chris Marker's 'La Jetée' is a work of art. Essentially an experimental science-fiction film, a product of the French New Wave, Marker's 28-minute short is a bleak and despairing glimpse into fate, hope, memory and destruction.
The film itself contains no dialogue, aside from Jean Négroni's bleak monotone narration. Sound effects and music are used very effectively, mixing the creepy incoherent babble of French voices during the experimentation sequences with the slow, mournful strings of Trevor Duncan's classical music. During the sequences set in the past, everyday sounds – birds chirping, planes whirring overhead – take on an ominous, otherworldly quality. The still frame photography also helps to set the atmosphere of the film, slowing the pace and offering parts of the story in the form of fragmented images, just as one might recall events of the past in a dream.
Surprisingly, given its style of cold montage, 'La Jetée' manages to achieve a high emotional resonance, a testament to the quality of the narrative and the beauty of the cinematography. Throughout the 28-minute running time, one finds it difficult to tear their eyes away from the screen, whether we be looking at the cold, dark claustrophobia of the near-future, a peaceful cityscape of an unspoilt Paris, or the flickering eyes of a waking woman (the only moment when the film shows us motion). Achingly beautiful, memorable, joyless and bleak, Chris Marker's 'La Jetée' hovers about the zenith of science-fiction cinema.

1) Skazka skazok {Tale of Tales}
Year: 1979; Director: Yuriy Norshteyn; Country: Soviet Union
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079986/

The human memory does not operate in a straightforward, linear manner. We do not remember events in neat chronological order, nor do we always immediately understand the meaning behind what we are seeing. Our memories are a jumble of seemingly-random but ultimately connected images, sporadically jumping between remembered places and moments, associations triggered by the repeated appearance of deceptively mundane but eerily familiar objects. There is much to be learned from exploring the unfathomable depths of the mind, and Russian animator Yuriy Norshteyn's 'Tale of Tales' strives to do exactly that.
In 1984, in an event held in conjunction with the Los Angeles Olympics, the Animation Olympiad jury attempted to recognise the single greatest animated film of all time. Despite a wealth of worthy candidates, one film was ultimately crowned with the grand title: that film, of course, was 'Tale of Tales.' Norshteyn's masterpiece is a triumph of stunning animation, ambient sound and a stirring classical score. Despite being held in such high regard by so many animation experts, I was surprised to discover how rare and under-seen this film actually is.
'Tales of Tales' is comprised of a number of related sequences, which are interspersed within each other. The film uses several recurring characters, most notably the poet, the little girl playing jump-rope with the disheartened bull, the young boy feeding apples to the crows, the dancers and the soldiers, the suckling baby and, of course, the little grey wolf (voiced by Aleksandr Kalyagin). The meanings behind the film's poignant images are somewhat beyond words, and, even if you have absolutely no desire to try and decipher the rich symbolism, you can still simply sit back and take in the awesome beauty.
Strikingly haunting, painfully beautiful and blissfully soothing, ‘Tale of Tales’ will carry you to a wonderful place far beyond your dreams.
Well... what did you think? Which short films are better? Have I wasted all my time writing this up? Are you the only person who's bothered to read through this whole list, or did you just skip to the end? Let me know!


Last Film Seen:
* Duck Soup (1933, Leo McCarey) – (7/10)

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!

good stuff, that looks like a great list. can't wait to delve into all of them.

Found your number 1 on Youtube in 3 parts


Tale of Tales -- Skazka Skazok (1 of 3) --http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4U_xk6CKI0

IMDb Top 10 Animal Driving Car Movieshttp://www.imdb.com/keyword/animal-driving-car/

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!

Wow, thanks for taking the time and for the info. I love short films but have not seem many older ones so I will definitely be referring to your list and checking some of them out!

Well done, and thanks once again!

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!

I must unfortunately say that I just skimmed the list, and perhaps you wasted your time. "Short film" is such a vague and massive category that trying to pare it down to 25 is just plain stupid. Especially considering the types you concentrated on (do really need a list to tell us to watch Chuck Jones?). I resent a list like this and I resent many of the choices you made.

I can't believe you list Sherlock Jr. as a short. I almost feel insulted when it's categorized as such (and I hate IMDb for doing it).

OK, enough of my complaining. Your efforts were noble (educational purposes, I presume), but your energies would be better focused elsewhere.

I proclaim ignorance.

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!

I deeply apologise for constructing a list that doesn't appeal to your sophisticated tastes. Never did I try to proclaim that my 25 selections were somewhow "definitive" and I merely presented them as films that are "very much worth watching." Also, while you were belittling me, you might as well have made some decent recommendations!

As for listing Sherlock Jr., I was working with my own definition of a short film, which is anything under 45 minutes. Chaplin's Shoulder Arms went for 46 minutes, but I decided to stretch my definition slightly to accommodate such a great film. As for your feeling "insulted" by the categorisation, unless your name is Buster Keaton or you were somehow involved in the production of the film, I think you're overreacting.

Hopefully, my efforts will bring these great films to the attention of other, more appreciative parties.

Last Film Seen:
* It Happened One Night (1934, Frank Capra) – (8/10)

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!


You should've tried to read what I said.

All I wanted to do was show some respect for you attempting to teach people about some good shorts. I tried to answer you honestly and directly. Why are you lashing back?

I just think that a list of short films is a pointless thing to do. Shorts is such a broad and vague category that lumping something like Sherlock Jr. with What's Opera Doc? is not only tedious and pointless, but also insulting. No, I don't think shorts should be listed as such. They should be evaluated by their place in history, or their place in a director's work, or their place of influence in a film movement. To put them side by side the way you have does not accomplish much.

I just wanted to answer you. I don't remember trying to belittle you or accusing you of making a 'definitive' list. I just wanted to say, honestly, that such a list is pointless and that you should focus your efforts in a different way.
Please don't react so badly.

I proclaim ignorance.

Forgive my initial brashness, then, but I still can't see it your way.


Shorts is such a broad and vague category that lumping something like Sherlock Jr. with What's Opera Doc? is not only tedious and pointless, but also insulting.
"Insulting" to who?
Of course there is extremely little linking Sherlock Jr. to What's Opera, Doc?. Beyond the fact that they are (arguably) short films, they share absolutely nothing in common.
Good. I tried to make the list as eclectic as I could (though, as you'll notice, I couldn't resist throwing in three Chuck Jones and two Norsteyn). By covering as many bases as possible, I'm opening up more doors than I could have by focusing solely on, for example, the work of Georges Méliès or Pixar.

All I wanted to do was show some respect for you attempting to teach people about some good shorts.
I'm afraid I didn't get that out of your post AT ALL. Thanks for apparently trying, though...
Got any recommendations, while you're here?

Last Film Seen:
* It Happened One Night (1934, Frank Capra) – (8/10)

Re: Forgive my initial brashness, then, but I still can't see it your way.


Recommendations? What sort of shorts are you looking for? You see, what I was trying to say with my last two posts is that 'shorts' is BROAD.

"Of course there is extremely little linking Sherlock Jr. to What's Opera, Doc?. Beyond the fact that they are (arguably) short films, they share absolutely nothing in common."

And when I broad, I mean BROAD. I'm willing to bet I've seen more short films than I have feature films, and the object of the short film is different for every single one. In feature lengths, there is narrative, there is documentary/essay, there is some experimental... but it's limited in comparison to the BROADNESS of "short". A short film can cover a lot of different grounds that a feature cannot, and the reason I said I was insulted by the Sherlock Jr. pick was because the narrative structure of Sherlock Jr. is of that of a feature film rather than a short (length has nothing to do with it). You've basically limited your list to narrative popular shorts, and this is why I'm against it. You are trivializing a whole cinematic universe.

Recommendations? Just start watching shorts. Here's a site with a lot of experimental shorts (and some features): http://www.ubu.com/film/
Explore it a bit.
There's a lot on google, too. But to start there you need to have some idea what kind of shorts you are looking for.

What is a 7 second film? What is a 7 hour film? Neither are feature-length, that's for sure. I dislike "shorts" being determined solely on the basis of length. I hope you can understand that. It is a vague category, and I think a list like this is unjustified. Does that make sense? I hope so.

Please understand me as such.

I proclaim ignorance.

http://www.ubu.com/ film/

Ah, yes, now here's a site that will prove useful.
Cheers!


Last Film Seen:
* Lucky Number Slevin / The Wrong Man (2006, Paul McGuigan) – (7/10)

Re: http://www.ubu.com/ film/

By the way: congratulations.
This is already one of the most lively and prolific discussions the Short Film board has seen all year!

Last Film Seen:
* Lucky Number Slevin / The Wrong Man (2006, Paul McGuigan) – (7/10)

Re: http://www.ubu.com/ film/

I hope you enjoy the site.

And I hope more people around here will start talking about shorts and experimental films in general. I'm glad they made a section for Shorts on the Main Boards, although I think the setup of these forums could be a lot more organized and focused in general.

Erhm, but that's a completely different story.

Post comments on any shorts you come across on UBU that you like. I might do the same...

I proclaim ignorance.

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!

Hey, thanks for taking all that time to make recommendations and provide links. I'll be sure to check them out at the next opportunity!
(just for the record, I've only seen Dimensions of Dialogue [a bit weird for my tastes], The Old Mill [a mini-masterpiece] and Ryan [a very clever sort of animated doumentary].)

P.S. Great work for tracking down The Man Who Planted Trees. I've been looking for it for ages!


Last Film Seen:
* Arsenic and Old Lace (1944, Frank Capra) – (8/10)

Nice list

Bump.

;~}

MEK

Every dream is a prophecy: every jest is an earnest in the womb of Time.

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!

This is great. And helpful. I saved your thread to my PC.

La Jetée is probably my favorite. It's hard to say because I don't rate them. But out of those that ackatsis hasn't mentioned in his two threads I like the most and also recommend the following.

Ryan (Chris Landreth - 2004)
Zapruder Film of Kennedy Assassination (Abraham Zapruder - 1963)
The works of Don Hertzfeldt, most notably 'The Meaning of Life'.
Copy Shop (Virgil Widrich - 2001)
Das Rad (Rocks) (Chris Stenner - 2003)
And of course the early works of David Lynch, most notably 'The Grandmother'.

More recommended stuff:
Harpya (Raoul Servais - 1979)
The Hearts of Age (1934) Orson Welles' first film.
Flex (Chris Cunningham - 2000)
Staplerfahrer Klaus - Der erste Arbeitstag (2000)

Rate this Film General favorite 10 - http://imdb.com/title/tt0017619

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!



This portuguese short film should be one of the 25; "Emotions Market" :

http://vimeo.com/2026637

Cheers!

Re: 25 MUST-SEE short films!

thanks so much for this list, hedgehog in the fog is priceless
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