The Big Screen 2000 | Chicago Reader

The Big Screen 2000

Ten award-winning short videos by Columbia College students, the three best of which succeed by selectively applying the principle of “less is more.” John Littman's The Legacy Jig is a drama involving a young single father, the brother he never got along with, and their dying mother; the script delicately balances the brothers' conflict, favoring neither, and the imagery and editing are admirably restrained, with uncluttered compositions reinforcing Littman's focus on character psychology. In Todd Lillethun's God Is a Chocolate Ice Cream Cake With Vanilla Frosting, an overweight boy just returned home from “fat camp” locks himself in the bathroom with a cake. But he's never pictured on-screen; the story is told in voice-over as key objects are removed one by one from an oven and, later, cake is splattered on a bathroom wall, a presentation that emphasizes consumption—and consumerism. In Victor's Gift, about a friendship between a boy and an elderly woman, director Andrew Hodges avoids bathos by telling his story without dialogue and giving great weight to a simple exchange of gifts. On the same program are Esau Melendez's amusing and scary Escucha! (Listen!), in which a woman turns the tables on her abusive boyfriend by tying him up, Courtney L. Hermann's The Single Most Feminist Thing, which shows three women succeeding at typical “male” jobs, and videos by Elena Antinelli, Ryan Kirlin, Tim Marvel, June Newberry, and Rebecca Rasmussen.

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