The Short Films of Izzy Lee #2 (2019)

Short films are a strange art of their own--for them to “work,” they have to be perfectly paced, give just enough exposition to drag us into their world but not so much that it bogs down our interest or drags the story, and most of all, it has to leave a taste in our mouths. Shorts are usually shown in hour and a half blocks at festivals, and when your work is bookended by pieces that may be tonally dissonant, hyper-violent or hyper-sexual, or just off-the-wall bonkers, you have to make sure the audience is going to stumble back out into the sunlight thinking about what you served up. More than most directors who work in the short form, Izzy Lee is able to meet all these challenges.

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The Box from XX (2017) #WiHM

Jovanka Vuckovic’s “The Box” operates on horror’s oldest premise: what you don’t see is the worst thing of all. That’s not to say that this sinister short feels dated or old fashioned--on the contrary, its assault on the viewer’s sense of the uncanny feels fiendishly new. Rather than rely on gore, “The Box” maintains a clinically cold detachment, allowing the dread to mount until the haunting ending leaves the viewer hoping for that oh-so-comforting sense of closure we’ve been trained to need from horror films.

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Memory Box (2015)

Attendees at this year’s Fantastic Fest who checked out the delightfully surprising dramedy Aloys were in for a treat of a different sort before the film proper began—a tragic, beautiful little short called “Memory Box.” The simplicity of its’ title betrays the complex framework of the story. In a not-very-distant future, people can pay to participate in “boxes”—elaborate role playing scenarios that let individuals relive past experiences, allowing them to literally relive their happiest memories, with companies and their employees painstakingly recreating places, events—and people.

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