short film review

Reviews and news about short films, short film festivals, reviews, links and guides to short films online,images from short films,directors,writers,cinemaphotographers. Copyright 2005, 2006 by Allan Maurer. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ako: Is that me on TV?

We've been exploring a number of sites that offer a pleathora of short films for your pleasure and elucidation. offers many intriguing short movies well worth exploring.

The film vocabulary speaks to the mind, but we don't mind a little plotting along with feeding our image addiction.

At tried first, "Ako To'" by Jurly O. Malodon-on Jr.

Athough some interactive comments suggest it's intended as an ironic satire on Philippine politics, it comes across as just another It-was-all-a-dream scenario in which a tv-watcher sees himself unaccountably on his small tv screen. H'mmm, why am I on TV, he wonders. He yanks the plug. He's still on. It's incrutable (to resort to western cliches). Or is it a doppelganger exercise with a video double, another you onscreen? Who's you, the one on screen?

There is a frisson, a scary moment when he first sees the shadow of a figure carrying a knife behind him on the screen, but even that is rather cliched.

Even the device of the "double" seems fairly common in short films. We recently saw another doppelganger short in which a charcter meets his double, "Rear View Mirror" over at's midnight movies category. We'll review it soon.

The whole idea of encountering an exact twin or perhaps ourselves at some intersection of dimensions or time and space is a freaky little bit of alienation that didn't just pop out of the modern imagination. In literature, Edgar Allan Poe ("The Doppleganger"); Doetoevski ("The Double" pretty much exchangeable titles, since "Doppleganger" means "Double" in the sense of exact twin in German) and Conrad ("The Secret Sharer") among others, have tackled the theme. Some modern physics even suggest that infinite mulitple dimensions even mean we may all have our "doubles" in dimensional time and space.

On the other hand, the device often strikes me as the uber-cliched easy out of "It was all a dream," and using both devices as "Ako" does, fails to redeem the cliche or the film.

Nevertheless, "Ako's" effective use of a claustrophobic small room setting with its tiny TV and single character in a t-shirt does suggest our blood connection to watching electrons dance. I think it's less a comment on Phillipine politics than one on the way we connect to TV microwaves in our living rooms.


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