NHFF Rundown Pt. 1 / by Aaron Bouchard

Recently I entered the world of blogging about 13 years too late. Now I am only 12 years behind the times by LIVE blogging. Yes, that is right! All weekend, I am going to live blog from the New Hampshire Film Festival (NHFF).

I love the NHFF. I have gone to it for the past 4 years for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday stretch. Downtown Portsmouth, NH is already a lively place, but it becomes impossibly vibrant during this weekend. It is a little after 3pm as of writing this and I have been to a couple shorts blocks. I’ll run down them quickly. Normally I do not care about warning of plot details but here I will warn of plot details:

Native Boy- To be hones, I missed the first few minutes of this, but it was a lyrical short that the filmmaker later noted during Q&A had no script at the start of shooting. The cinematography was rather beautiful, but I cannot really speak to the story, again, because I missed the beginning.

Here & Now- A woman flashes back to happier times after a fight with her husband. The whole short was without dialogue outside of laughing and sighing. The actors were impossibly beautiful and everything was clean and wonderful. We are never given the reason for the fight which is strange because beautiful people do not fight. Other than a little over-the-top acting, it was nice to see a short minus dialogue.

Palimpsest- A busy house tuner helps a woman ‘tune’ her home correctly only to realize later that he may have been wrong later. One of those shorts that is filmed in New York about New York life and how busy and tired New Yorkers are all the time, but the idea of an apartment or life tuner is actually kind of funny. New York films always seem to be about lyricism, wonder why that is?

Frames- A family man must confront his fears and anxieties when an old friend comes back to town. This struck me as a very ‘manly’ short. Men doing things like construction, bowling, driving, avoiding talking about their feelings. I liked the basic set up of the film and how the main character finally confronted his feelings, felt like something we had all been through before. The color correction choice to blow out all the colors all the time became very irritating very quickly as it did not seem purposeful. Otherwise it was a pretty decent short.

Salvatore- A priest converses with a man named Salvatore as the pope is slowly dying in a hospital bed. The film was so short, less than 4 minutes, that I am not sure how to feel about it. My first thought it “The pope would have been surrounded by WAY more people than that if he was dying!” The story was a little familiar, but still sort of fun to watch unfold.

Trold- Parents rely on their daughter to make money for the family while the daughter is forced to grow up too quickly. The more I think about it, the more terrible the whole world in the film becomes; the film is heavy on religious imagery as everyone preys, everyone asks to be forgiven for the terrible things they have done, but they just keep doing those terrible things. The daughter is the only person who comes out of the film clean, but we can all see that she is going to be so broken in the coming years it does not even matter. Everyone should be preying for her.

Allein- Two friends confront something terrible they did twenty years ago. Allein gives us two view points of grief: Those who confront it to do right and those who want to bury it in order to keep living their lives. It is sort of an interesting idea and we are never given a clear answer as to what they men did in their youth that was so terrible, but they obviously are ashamed enough by it that it effects them both differently when it comes back up. Sort of a neat way to tell a drama in horror story form.

Okay more to come later…