Lunch Time Shorts at the Victoria Film Festival ’13

The Victoria Film Festival (VFF) started their week of movies with a series of food-related shorts that I couldn’t resist going to see. I could have paid to participate in the Feast and Film program, where movie-goers are treated to a meal at Spinnakers (that I’ve reviewed a few years ago) and a movie, Azul Intangible, a film about oceanic life in the northwestern part of Mexico. Fortunately, I had the willpower because I do need to start saving my money.

At the Vic Theatre, the $12 admission is a reasonable price for a nice pasta lunch that was catered by the staff and volunteers of the VFF. In the handout describing the event, the chef is Guido Martini; he does the graphic design for the various events that the VFF runs throughout the year.

I wasn’t here to rate the food. Instead, I was here to look at the movies being presented. Was I hungry afterwards? Well, I did make a side-trip to Uchida to buy some rice balls to sneak into the theatre. Perhaps as this unique program becomes better known, it will be fully catered by a food sponsor like Thrifty’s or Temple. Only time will tell.

In terms of the movies being presented, the progression from good to best was very evident.

I found Beerbug, a computer animated short, to be quite amusing. This Spanish production showed what animator, Ander Mendia, can do when he is in charge of every aspect of the production. The plot about Joe, a gas station attendant, wondering who is stealing his ale is chuckle-worthy.

The attention to detail in the computer rendering is superb, but the piece just does not have the same level of awe that a PIXAR short can produce.

The next piece, Piece of Cake, is a production made by high schoolers. I thought I was watching an episode of iCarly (when they are doing their web broadcast) than I Love Lucy. The sisters do a good job of lampooning how what one makes in the kitchen will never look like what’s shown in a cookbook. But do they also know that with still photos, manipulation with Adobe Photoshop also happens? As a skilled photographer and image manipulator, yes, I know all the tricks too.

Chocolate Bacon is an interesting short that I would call an experiment with mixed media. While the images presented features  food products, they are more symbolic of something else. This film was the odd man out since it deals with the experiences filmmaker Asavari Kumer faced in his first year of grad school than being a story about food.

I’m certain there are a few allegories being made, but this piece does need to be viewed again before I can pick it apart with chopsticks. For the most part, I couldn’t relate to the story being told.

But with the final piece, The Dinner, my expectations were blown away. I won’t spoil this movie too much, but it’s a must see. Director Carlos López Estrada may well have done more work in the film industry than the other filmmakers combined.

This 24 minute short is a wonderful character study of Bejan Gaudet (Carlos Leal), a self-absorbed philanthropist who needs closure. It seems he has managed to piss off a fair number of people in his life. And as he celebrates his 45th birthday, he invites these same people to celebrate with him. This movie is a whodunit in reverse. He knows his death is inevitable, but the question of how will he die, if anyone will accept his heart-felt apologies and who will want to kill him is what makes this movie engaging.

Although I didn’t leave the theatre feeling hungry, I did snag another piece of banana cake from the table as I left the doors. It sated my appetite.

Now I’m debating if I should go to see Les Saveurs du Palais (Haute Cuisine) today. The programme write-up teases that viewers should eat well before going to see this product. French cuisine at its most decadent will be featured. Resistance may be futile. Just thinking about what kind of food presentations will be made during the film is already making me drool.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s