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Film Notes From Bumbershoot: The Unexpected

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Here we have the films with the most name recognition of any at Bumbershoot. These two shorts features an Oscar winner, a big name director, and a couple of legit big time movie stars. Bumbershoot, you’re moving up in the world.

Steve

Steve may have the best pedigree of any film at this year\’s 1 Reel Film Festival. The title character is played by none other than Colin Firth, 2010\’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Male Performance, while Kiera Knightly (Bend it like Beckham) plays the other main role. Actor Rupert Friend (Pride and Prejudice) handles the writing and directing duties.

Steve (Firth) is a sort of more keyed up Bartleby, who really won\’t accept not being invited in for a cup of tea when he pops ups to introduce himself to his neighbors (Knightley and Tom Mison). That wouldn\’t be polite, after all, not offering someone a cup. Who would even think of such a thing? As Steve knocks on the door more and more frequently—he just keeps showing up under a series of false pretenses—his behavior becomes increasingly unpredictable and abrasive. Before long he\’s violently demanding that tea be served.

Steve is a fun short, raised up by the performances by Firth and Knightly—who I usually can\’t stand—and an underlying weirdness that is both creepy and engaging. All of this makes Steve more than just a tale about the awkward bloke who lives downstairs.

Scenes from the Suburbs

Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation.) directs this half-hour film based on the album The Suburbs by indie-darlings-cum-Grammy-winning-Canadians The Arcade Fire. The heart of the story surrounds a group of teenage friends during one particularly formative summer. Their concerns are the usual disaffected teen troubles—growing up, getting high, losing their innocence, fearing about the future, disintegrating friendships, and rebelling against authority. This last one is particularly interesting because this isn\’t your average every day strip mall infested suburb. Mixed in with the nearly identical housing developments, the town exists in dystopian translation of the United States where towns share heavily armed boundaries and the threat of militaristic incursion looms large over daily life. The story meanders this way and that, without much direction, and Scenes from the Suburbs comes off as more concerned with music and naval gazing than story or character.