Short Films in Focus: Yearbook and Hudson Geese | Features

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Last year, Britto sent out “Hudson Geese” to the festival circuit and it did not disappoint. It starts off telling the story of a simple goose looking back on his days of being a simple goose. He talks about the love of his life, his favorite locations, the perfect weather in which to fly, and how the sky is the best place for a bird to be. Then, tragedy strikes, a tragedy you’re no doubt familiar with, but one that ended triumphantly. At least, for the humans. What about the geese? How will they be remembered?

These bite-size doses of profundity have a style all their own: Fast-paced, whimsical, and full of soul-searching humanity. Stylistically, they feel like something edited by Thelma Schoonmaker. The minimalist 2-D animation style gives the movies an extra layer of humanity, as we can plainly see flaws in the designs. Like I said, very human. The man in “Yearbook,” for example, doesn’t have perfectly rendered arms and his girlfriend looks slightly off-balance as well. This is part of the charm and it forces us to listen a little more than watch. Plus, the shots are so quick, you don’t have time to fixate too long on what’s imperfect. 

Britto’s knack for tight editing miraculously never diminishes the emotional punch at the end. These films have a funny way of sneaking up on the viewer, setting us up for a kind of fantastical little idea, only to have us questioning the meaning of their own existence five minutes later. How many features have attempted that same kind of ambition? How many actually succeeded?

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I was incredibly happy to finally see Britto’s films available on Vimeo (links below). Normally, I don’t pair movies up for this column, but watch these two films back-to-back (in any order) and you’ll understand why I did. I also highly recommend the short film “Glove,” which he co-directed with Alexa Lim Haas, which I hope to cover in this column in the future. 

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