The conflicts depicted in film come in many forms—whether they be products of nature or purely circumstantial by just being in the right place at the right time. The Palm Springs International ShortFest presented a program of short films appropriately titled “Desperate Measures,” showcasing different scenarios that are unified in theme about how the decisions we make can ultimately affect the outcome of future events. Shining the spotlight on fate, this collection of films poses the question of, “what would you do?”
This Iranian film centers on a man’s attempt at crossing the border into another country by disguising himself as a ram. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when the protagonist finds himself becoming more in touch with an animal mentality than he anticipated. AniMal skirts the lines between drama and surrealism with its portrayal of a primal urge to break free of the barriers or obstacles we come across in life. With that being said, sometimes the nature of the beast could be the end of man.
A heart-wrenching tale of innocence and mercy, Broken Bunny follows two girls who come across a badly injured rabbit on their neighborhood street. One girl decides to take it home with her in order to nurse it back to health so that she can keep it as a pet. The resolution of the film comes as a sudden brutal awakening to viewers distracted by the fuzzy animals and joyful demeanors of the young actors, making it all the more appropriate to include in this program of harsh consequences.
A little slice of dramatic life, Caroline’s premise is a topic that is relevant in the news, especially when summer temperatures start to rise. The short film centers on a mother of three who leaves her children in the car as she goes in for a job interview. She leaves her oldest daughter, Caroline, in charge of looking after her younger siblings—a duty she tries to fulfill even as she struggles to turn the air conditioning on. The realism of the plot and performances of the actors make this short even more thrilling, engulfing audiences into the chain of events that lead to a chilling climax.
Hailing from Finland, The Door spins the story of a lonely intruder who breaks into the home of a new father. Although the baby doesn’t wake, the father comes face-to-face with his invader to talk. Drenched in dark shadows and isolated apartment corridors, The Door appears gloomy in idea, but treats viewers with touches of occasional humor that make the moral of the story more clearly defined. While the effectiveness of its message gets lost in translation, the film still succeeds in opening others up to the idea of second chances.
The lengthiest film of the bunch, Graduation ’97 reunites two former high school classmates who graduated twenty years ago. TV repairman Roman crosses paths with his former crush, Liuda, at a local market, fully intending to reconnect after so much missed time. This short movie unravels with the most unexpected twists and turns from such an innocent synopsis. Graduation ’97 caters to those who pine for nostalgia and missed connections, demonstrating what could happen when those thoughts get the best of you.
A suicidal man is about to jump from the roof of a tall building, but before he decides to follow through, he hears a cell phone ring and answers it, discovering a bank woman on the other line telling him that he has won the lottery. Just as the man is about to hang up, he overhears the bank getting robbed in the background and reevaluates the decision he is making. Rien Ne Va Plus! gracefully demonstrates the nature of serendipity and how every choice can affect other people in the long-run.