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November 17, 2007 8:08 PM   Subscribe

Smile - a very creepy short student film.
posted by loquacious (40 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, that was good. Nice little piece of animation. My only complaint: could've had a better ending. I don't mean a happy ending, just something... better.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:18 PM on November 17, 2007


Fantastic.
posted by ducksauce at 8:25 PM on November 17, 2007


Nice. Though I agree with flapjax about the ending.
posted by dreamsign at 8:29 PM on November 17, 2007


heh, pretty cool. Good find
posted by edgeways at 8:33 PM on November 17, 2007


: )
posted by googly at 8:35 PM on November 17, 2007


I liked the film, but disliked the ending as well. It seemed, well, not like an ending.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:38 PM on November 17, 2007


And the moral of the story? Beware of cats on valium?
posted by LiveLurker at 8:38 PM on November 17, 2007


Yeah, I saw this some time ago. I still wet myself when I think about it.
posted by nola at 8:39 PM on November 17, 2007


A related AskMe thread. Their site hasn't been updated for a while but has some quirky animations.
posted by tellurian at 8:39 PM on November 17, 2007


Very cool. Thanks.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:40 PM on November 17, 2007


Direct link to WMV from the creator's site.
posted by churl at 8:41 PM on November 17, 2007


Maybe it's just me, but a horror-filled situation with a (conscious, also fearful) compatriot means you've crossed into some hellish otherworld. Horror-filled situation that you only seem aware of = the crazy. So I kinda figured the ending would mean this psychotic guy butchering a roomful of people. And a cat.

Not disappointed it didn't turn out the way I expected. Just wanted a little... more. Liked the style, though. And what is it about foreign language horror that ratchets up tension a notch?
posted by dreamsign at 8:49 PM on November 17, 2007


It's an interesting technique. The faces appear to be CG composited onto live action bodies.... very creepy...
posted by MythMaker at 8:50 PM on November 17, 2007


And what is it about foreign language horror that ratchets up tension a notch?

We fear what we don't understand.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:53 PM on November 17, 2007


And what is it about foreign language horror that ratchets up tension a notch?

We fear what we don't understand.


Naah. Hebrew is just fuckin scary, is all.

/joke
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:01 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


How is this not a dupe? I must have seen this a million times.
posted by delmoi at 9:07 PM on November 17, 2007


Fun and definitely smile-inducing.

I am a little creeped out though because I've been reading stuff about and by P. K. Dick all day.
posted by mistersquid at 9:36 PM on November 17, 2007


It was OK. (Has anyone ever filmed "The Monster" by AE Van Vogt?)
posted by maxwelton at 9:46 PM on November 17, 2007


This is old as hell. I'm surprised it hasn't been on here before.
posted by puke & cry at 10:13 PM on November 17, 2007


"This is old as hell. I'm surprised it hasn't been on here before." ---- "How is this not a dupe? I must have seen this a million times."

Shucks, it was the first time seeing it for me, so I'm glad loq posted it.

And hell, gagaku, the ancient court music of Japan, is older than this piece of animation by, oh, a thousand years at least, and I can't recall seeing any of that on MeFi either, so...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:27 PM on November 17, 2007


that was good. you shouldn't have said "student film," it almost kept me from watching it :)
posted by jcruelty at 11:47 PM on November 17, 2007


That was fucking awesome.
posted by empath at 1:21 AM on November 18, 2007


MetaFilter: this is old as hell.
posted by bwg at 3:05 AM on November 18, 2007


the style is excellent but it makes no sense.
posted by SageLeVoid at 6:28 AM on November 18, 2007


What's with the dupe police?

I'm convinced that over-sensitivity to dupes is a strong sign that you need to go out and play in the yard for a while.

Nice tracking and compositing by the bye -- goes half-way to make up for the stiff facial animation.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 6:39 AM on November 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I liked this a lot. Thanks!
posted by Kwine at 6:58 AM on November 18, 2007


Nice style and visuals but it needed more story. Beat Killer Bean anyway.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:12 AM on November 18, 2007


Usually I hate student films but that was pretty good.
posted by bradbane at 9:31 AM on November 18, 2007


Usually I hate student films but that was pretty good.

As far as student films usually go, I'd say it was very good.

(It was new to me too, thanks.)
posted by itchylick at 9:57 AM on November 18, 2007


In the traditon of nitpicking cinematic inaccuracies, I don't think Valium comes in 50mg tablets. Of course, I've never been to Israel. Maybe knockout pills are standard in pharmacies there. Yeah, I know, hot girls don't turn into white-faced monsters either in real life.
posted by kozad at 10:10 AM on November 18, 2007


So... were they monsters? was he just freaking out?
posted by jpdoane at 10:40 AM on November 18, 2007


I am a little creeped out though because I've been reading stuff about and by P. K. Dick all day.

The first thing I thought of when I watched it was The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 2:44 PM on November 18, 2007


DelMoi: "How is this not a dupe? I must have seen this a million times."

bleargh

CheeseburgerBrown: "What's with the dupe police? I'm convinced that over-sensitivity to dupes is a strong sign that you need to go out and play--"

-- out in the street and get run over by a bus! Cut it out!

I would like to see it become more popular in The Blue to haze people who cry 'dupe' at the drop of a hat. So what?! So what if it's a dupe? Oh the world's gonna stop spinning cuz a link that was posted a week or so ago gets mentioned again. Boo fuckin' hoo. I haven't seen this before so it's not a dupe to me, and that's all I care about. If ya notice someone do it habitually, or it's like three times in the same day, take it to MetaTalk. That's what it's there for. Shut up or I'll sic the cats and valium after you.

JPDoane: "So... were they monsters? was he just freaking out?"

I'd have to say YES. They were monsters. He was freaking out. The ladies were subtly trying to steal free will from the boys. The bit with the keys is an early giveaway very carefully orchestrated where most might not catch it at first.

How I read the events, the guy was on something when he arrived (hence the fucked up heads) and the ladies didn't want him to take the other guy with him. The ladies were trying to save the boys from themselves, but how they were going about it was monstrous.

So yeah. He freaked out. They were monsters.

SageLeVoid: "the style is excellent but it makes no sense."

I thought it makes perfect sense.

Sometimes smiles are laced with something else. Sometimes smiles are saying exactly the opposite of what the person lying through them thinks they're conveying. Sometimes they're masks hiding deep seated feelings of negativity.

It was an intervention, and the ladies were gonna dose the guys with valium so they wouldn't go get whatever drugs the one guy was already on... which is just fighting fire with fire when you think about it. There were no real protagonists here, but the ladies meant well. When the guy looks over at the girl and she says it was an accident, his perception was that there's subtext to how she's saying it. He's indirectly at fault, perhaps cuz of partying that happened some days before. Her broken leg is his fault, and he either doesn't know and it's dawning on him, or he does know but his clouded druggy brain has forgotten.

So we were watching an attempt to stop someone from doing drugs from the perspective of a guy already using. Or rather, we were witnessing the perspective of a guy already using psychedelic drugs from someone who's never actually done psychedelic drugs but imagines that's probably what it's like if you do psychedelic drugs, cuz I've never taken psychedelic drugs and it made perfect sense to me.

Flapjax: "My only complaint: could've had a better ending."

Had this same event been told from the perspective of one of the ladies, it woulda been very different, and less psychedelic and paranoid. Maybe the guy who walked in woulda looked more like a wolf. Whoever directed this thing has learned an important lesson in filmmaking: POV is everything.

They knocked him out when he started catching on, cuz the valium didn't work on him, and that was the monstrous ladies' only backup plan. It coulda only ended one way.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:45 PM on November 18, 2007


I also think there might be a political angle with the subtext. Of the four, the lady in the cast speaks british english in a way that tells the viewer she's from the west. She's been wounded. She's wearing black which I believe is internationally a sign of recent loss.

Whereas our visual narrator, the guy who gets hit at the end, he's wearing a blue jacket that says CCCP and his shirt is red. He sympathizes with russian history. Yet this film was made in 2005, after the Soviet Union fell over a decade before, so why is this guy wearing that jacket?

We are not in the house of either the russians or the british. We are in an israeli home - and while the man of this house may be mechanically inclined, it's made clear that the lady of this house keeps it in order, and she will not tolerate the soviet sympathizer drugging her man and taking him away from their home, but she will allow the western guest to help her keep her boys in line. So this is spooky on many levels.

...

Why yes I had a plate of beans with rice for lunch. Why do you ask?
posted by ZachsMind at 3:18 PM on November 18, 2007



Flapjax: "My only complaint: could've had a better ending."



They knocked him out when he started catching on, cuz the valium didn't work on him, and that was the monstrous ladies' only backup plan. It coulda only ended one way.


I agree that it could have had a better ending, but I don't mean the narrative beat. I think that knocking him out is a fine way to end it, but it's treatment felt abrupt and ineffective . The rest of the film felt very deliberate; the tense moments were held just long enough and the punchy moments were just punchy enough. The end moment felt a bit off, just a bit.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 3:27 PM on November 18, 2007


Yeah but we were experiencing this through the guy. So when the guy fell unconscious, that was the end.

I mean yeah it'd be nice to know what happened to him afterwards. Did they tie him up and starve him for three days while he went through withdrawal symptoms? Did they call the police or a sanitarium? Maybe he never woke up?

I would not have liked it if right after the last shot, the director showed us a new angle above it all where we see the two girls and the cat standing over the guy with a lump on his head. Woulda ruined the effect. There's a movie called "The Last Broadcast" which was horrible at that. It couldn't decide who it was telling the story through, so when one person's story was done it'd just move on to someone else.

While this can be effective at times, even when done well it can be very annoying. The recently failed television show Drive is an example of it being done well but being done terribly too much.

Leave with the one whut brung ya.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:37 PM on November 18, 2007


There's another student film called Slacker which comes to mind. It was made in Austin Texas many moons ago. Both one of my favorite movies and one of the worst movies ever in the history of anything.

Slacker was a series of vignettes. One person would walk into a scene and meet someone else, they'd talk for awhile, then the camera would start following this new person as the first person leaves the shot. That person would go somewhere and meet up with another person. They'd talk for awhile, then we'd leave the second person and follow the third for awhile until they met with a fourth, and so on. It was an interesting effect, but the end result is that there's no story. There's just random conversations for two hours. After awhile you just wanna throw something at the screen. Leave with the one whut brung ya. POV is everything. Powerful lesson to learn in filmmaking.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:45 PM on November 18, 2007


This was good, although I agree about the ending.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:50 PM on November 18, 2007


Yeah but we were experiencing this through the guy. So when the guy fell unconscious, that was the end.

I would not have liked it if right after the last shot, the director showed us a new angle above it all where we see the two girls and the cat standing over the guy with a lump on his head. Woulda ruined the effect.

Ah - I agree with you about this, too. I'm critiquing the craft of the the final narrative moment, not adding another beat of information afterwards or anything like that. That last shot felt a little clunky. I only watched it once, yesterday, so I can't comment on the specifics but it seemed like the kind of thing that could have been a little more effective depending on the use of motion within frame, timing, editing, sound design, etc.

All that being said, I don't think it was a *badly* done ending, but it didn't seem quite on par with the craft, ability and ingenuity throughout.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 9:16 PM on November 18, 2007


I was told by a friend that since we read left-to-right that horror movies often try to 'sneak up on us' by always presenting shock coming in from the right. The idea being that at the cut our eyes tend to go back to the left side of the screen, so whatever's moving off to the right is in our peripheral vision, which is less concerned with image and more with motion. Since that's how we used to detect predators, it's a very primal fear response. I was watching this one, and it seemed to favor the left-hand side. Doesn't Hebrew read right-to-left?
posted by Eideteker at 7:26 AM on November 22, 2007


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