Hello once again, people of the internet. After a long day mostly filled with the compulsive and unhealthy watching of far too many short films, I came up with the brilliant idea of spreading the beauty of the medium to the unwashed masses via a weekly column on this humble website of ours. This incredible art form has been undercut for too long, and I plan to give it some long overdo exposure. So, with this noble goal in mind, I bring you the first ever Short Film Sunday.
I’ve found that in the modern era of the internet and any number of other newfangled contraptions there’s a pervasive problem with forming actual connections. We may be in the same room or even sitting across from one another, but it seem like it’s harder than ever to actually build up the courage and put yourself out there to form an actual link with another human being. It’s this ever present idea that Don Hertzfeldt attacks with his brilliant short film, Lily and Jim.
Presented in a low budget style akin to the doodles and scribbles that are no doubt familiar to any high schooler who’s ever been bored during math class, Lily and Jim presents the story of the world’s most awkward blind date, ever. The titular characters are so immobilized by their own insecurities and fears that they are unable to connect in any real way, instead spiting out meaningless and really quite awkward small talk. They’re just trying to find someone to be with, but they’re just so incapable that it all at once becomes hilarious and tragic. They both sit there wanting the same thing, just to connect, to not be alone, but they can’t, none of them will take that first step and really put themselves out there. Instead they soak in their own self loathing and neuroticism and end up where they started, alone.
In may way this kind of thing is exactly why I love short films. In these short 13 minutes Don Hertzfeldt is able to build an illuminating microcosm of modern relationships, showing us how much we vie for human contact but tragically sabotage ourselves in a vain effort to not be hurt. It achieves something that most films can’t even get close to in their lofty 120 minute run-times. By simplifying and shortening he’s able to deliver a clear picture without any of the bloat inherent to many feature length films. It really is quite amazing and something that people shouldn’t underestimate for its short film moniker.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5