By Natalie Tsui
First things first: I am a hopeless romantic. I swoon at musicals, clutch my heart during quirky rom-coms, break out the tissues during tear-jerking scenes. That said, I accidentally-on-purpose chose to back-to-back, love-themed screenings: TAINTED LOVE (the cleverly named shorts program) and SURROGATE VALENTINE (the closing night film).
TAINTED LOVE was comprised of shorts running the whole gamut of genres, from experimental to documentary to comedy. A personal favorite was I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, which captured the romantic hope and disappointment of a singing telegram worker in a mini-musical. Featuring two presentations of the same song—one in an upscale hot pot bistro and one in a poorly decorated Chinese restaurant—Jason Karman beautifully juxtaposes the romantic fantasy of winning back an old lover with the mundane reality of moving on. The number taking place in reality is stripped of all the glitz and glamour typical of classical Hollywood musicals. But, even without violin swell, grandiose choreographed movement, and spectacle, the real number is all the more poignant precisely because of its lack of cinematic-ness. The protagonist delivers a heart-breakingly awkward rendition of “I’m in the Mood for Love” that perfectly depicts the moment in which fantasy is shattered by reality.
BOYS AND GIRLS and YULIA, the animated short, cleverly played with heteronormative audience expectations. DIRTY BITCH presented a mash-up of numerous genres (rap-video, horror, porn, family drama). The documentaries LAST DANCE and TO GET A DATE, both by Digital Histories, presented heartfelt looks at love from the perspective of endearing seniors.
The wonderfully assembled program showed the up-and-downs of love with the whole arsenal of motion picture genres. It was rounded up perfectly with the cleverly written romantic comedy SURROGATE VALENTINE which, aside from having an awesome title song, aptly encapsulates the anxieties of a hopelessly hopeful lover. Goh Nakamura even played a live set at the After After party! Wow!
Natalie is a participant in this year’s Verizon Student Delegate Program.