Blood Pulls a Gun

blood_pulls_a_gunHello everyone. It has been a while, but at least for this summer Avenue Kurtodrome will return with weekly updates. Weekly updates, the summer months… one might even think we’ve been inspired by the programme that gave us our name. Speaking of which, we’ll talk about an Alex Cox movie next week. But to kick us off – and to prove we’re back in style – some Eye Candy (as it’s been a while, that’s the Avenue’s code for clips or short movies).

Blood Pulls a Gun is a short movie of just over 18 minutes, released in 2014 with a world premier at SXSW. It’s the winner of the Gold ACS Award 2014 (which is short for Australian Cinematographers Society) and won Best Emerging Film Maker at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2014. That film maker is Ben Briand, a name you might have heard before from another short: 2009’s Apricot. (If not, feel free to expand your Eye Candy session for another 11 minutes by watching it here.)

In Blood Pulls a Gun we’re introduced to Alice, a teenage girl who “gets a keyhole look into a dangerous and mysterious world when a tattooed stranger checks into her roadside motel”. Alice is the daughter of the motel owner and she likes to keep momentos from guests, which she stores in a box. The short may have been recorded in Australia’s Swansea, but the feel is very much somewhere in the US’s Bible Belt. And by somewhere, we mean a non-descript place between two more important locations. Alice (played by Odessa Young) is a typical teen in a movie: trying to discover herself while growing up in the neighbourhood of an impressionable young boy and lots of men who spend one night in a motel, probably on their way to another destination. The sunglasses, the pink paper heart on her bedroom wall, the ambitious use of lipstick… all find their way into these 18 minutes. As does Blood Lieberman, whose arrival at the hotel does not go unnoticed. Like Alice, you’re wondering if Blood is his real name. You never know: if someone asks you to draw a picture of a guy called Blood, your cartoon might just look like Mr Lieberman. Alice peeks into Blood’s room and suddenly becomes a peeping tom, seeing Blood seducing a woman. She’s wearing a wig, like Alice’s voice-over narration, another stereotype subtly used by Ben Briand.

blood-pulls-gun-1100-1100x461

A masterpiece might be too much credit, but Blood Pulls a Gun is definitely a masterful piece of genre cinema. The right notes are struck and over the course of 18 minutes you get enough bits of information to label characters – especially Alice but to quite some extent also Blood – round rather than flat, but also enough empty spots in the story for you to fill. Shorts, even more than feature-length films, have a tendency to overexplain characters and their actions. Add to this (voice-over) lines like “When cats have sex, it sounds as if they’re fighting. People too, especially the people that come here.” and you know you’re in for a treat.

So here is – without further ado and to mark the beginning of the Avenue’s summer – Blood Pulls a Gun. Enjoy!

BLOOD PULLS A GUN // Short Film from Ben Briand on Vimeo.

Short: Love Sick

Not the promised update today, which is ready but will be posted on 5 September. I need more time than anticipated on my novella and I could use a couple of extra days. So instead, another entry in the season of short movies which started earlier in the year. Kevin Lacy wrote, edited and directed this short of nearly five minutes long. You can’t say it didn’t win an award: Fringe Film Festival 2011 (Grand Jury Prize), Fear No Film 2011(Utah Short Film of the Year), CityWeekly Artys 2011(Reader’s Choice Award), Salt Lake Comedy Festival 2012(Best Actor – Josh Cameron), Action on Film Festival 2011 and HollyShorts Film Festival 2011. Deserved? Check it out for yourself:

See you on 5 September, for a movie that got less attention. I could only find one trailer (without subtitles – how’s your Czech?) and one of the three copies of the trailer is age-restricted. (Must be because you see the naked back of an 18-year-old girl. Oooh… shocking!)

Millionaire – Champagne

Looks like this blog could do with a little energy and what’s more energetic than a rock song or a short movie with rollerskating action? Erm, what about the combination of both? The short movie seemed to fit perfectly to the song, so Millionaire asked to use it, way back in 2001 (when they released their album Outside The Simian Flock). A bit of music from yesteryear and a short movie: looks like a good deal for an update.

Invention of Love

Invention of Love was made by Andrey Shushkov in 2010. It’s here because some of our viewers like animated movies and because we can see the clear influence of the animation technique by Lotte Reiniger. While wanting to link to our article on The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1922), we noticed the Avenue had never published such an article. Truly a shame, which is why we’ll first post a clip of said movie:

Do check out the rest on dvd, it’s well worth your money. And now back to the 21st century, with Invention of Love:

The Girl With The Yellow Stockings

June has traditionally been a month with fewer posts, but this year that will not be true. The Avenue will get an update today as well as on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th of this month. How is that possible if there’s hardly time to even check in if someone liked the most recent post? Well, if I have the time, I’ll write a new review. If not, you can enjoy a short movie. Hand-picked and with a short explanation why.

We kick off the series of shorts in Germany, with Das Mädchen mit den gelben Strümpfen (The Girl with the Yellow Stockings). This six minute short introduces us to a young couple, lying on bed. He wants to marry her and has even bought the rings. She doesn’t want to make life that simple for him and simply refuses. It doesn’t exactly make her the most sympathetic woman in a short, but the YouTube crowd are way ahead of you: the insults written there are misogynic at best (often dragging the World War into this, a simple love tale). For my money, I saw a girl too young to commit: in her heart, she wanted her knight in shining armour to make an effort for his princess, not just ask her bluntly on a bed. She doesn’t refuse him: that would be have led to a phrase like “I like you, but…”, she simply says “no”. She wants him to ask again, without a promise that the answer will be positive. Maybe she wants to be sure his proposal wasn’t just an impulse. But that’s the Avenue’s take on The Girl with the Yellow Stockings.

Directed by Grzegorz Muskala in 2008, the couple is played by Rosalie Thomass and Thomas Fränzel. Happy viewing!

Short movie: Helsinki

Today is a day unlike most, it only pops up once every four years and therefore it’s worth a bonus update. As a treat, here’s a 15-minute long short by Caroline de Maeyer. It’s her graduation movie. The main stars are Natali Broods (the woman you see on the still underneath, an actress who already had some cult status in Flanders) and Charlotte Vandemeersch (whose star wasn’t really shining back then but who’s become one of the more famous and prolific actresses in Flanders by now). If you don’t know if you can spare 15 minutes, the link to the trailer can be found underneath the short. Happy viewing!

Helsinki from Caroline de Maeyer on Vimeo.

Or watch the trailer instead. (Mind you, unlike the short, the trailer has no subtitles.)

The Thing (Pingu version)

Not the highly anticipated – okay, maybe not – Top 10 movies of 2011 for two very good reasons (1. I suddenly had to finish an assignment and 2. One of the movies is on my digicorder and that’s blocking). The top 10 will be scheduled for 20 January and, in an attempt to take all the anticipation away, the N°1 will be posted earlier.

So what’s today’s plan then? Well, nothing less than an exciting remake. You see, these days remakes seem all the rage: while Cronenberg’s The Fly 2 wasn’t exactly received with open arms by Fox, he is planning Eastern Promises 2 and Ridley Scott wants to do something with Blade Runner again. And that’s just the example of two directors.

The Thing also got two remakes recently. There’s that one movie we don’t really feel like discussing here – much like a lot of reviewers didn’t seem to think the 1951 The Thing From Another World was worth mentioning as the actual “original” movie – and then there’s this: The Thing once more, but now starring Pingu:

And, because we’re really into movies, here‘s the Behind the Scenes documentary.