It may be just the first assignment, but this art house wannabe isn't wasting any time to prove how "deep" he is. His film is shot entirely in black and white, and the actors are all behind a sheet with disconcerting images continuously projected onto it. It's bad when the language suddenly changes to Bulgarian, but it's even worse when there are no subtitles. Every eight seconds or so, the shot cuts quickly to a fly struggling in a spider web. The pretension is almost unbearable, but the lengthy shots of the director laying on a slab of pavement covered only in cold cuts and holding a bible with a hole through it make this vomit-inducing. But you don't vomit, because you know he would just incorporate that into his next film.
Despite this being intro to film, this aspiring Michael Bay somehow managed to garner at least a thousand dollar budget for his intense action film. Helicopters are going down in a jungle in Panama. A man's head blows up in lifelike fashion. Even the lasers of the random space aliens look pretty good. Unfortunately, there's no green screen for coherent plot. Men in suits and dark sunglasses inexplicably pop out behind almost every corner shooting large guns at the protagonist, whose motivation, affiliation, and name are never revealed. There is no dialogue, in less you count that one guy who says "oh my g" as he opens a briefcase with a bomb in it that detonates in his face.
The documentarian knows that there is truly no more compelling narrative than real life. She knows that real people discussing actual events is emotional, deep and raw. She knows that slowly zooming out of a sepia-toned photograph while narrating is the only true way to tell a story. What's odd is that she put all of these practices into documenting the life of Whiskers, her family's cat. The interview with her grandmother is off-topic at best, overtly racist at worst. The overwrought emotion in chronicling the life of, from all accounts, a pretty average cat makes the avant-garde film almost bearable in comparison.
Uh oh. There's a man on the outside of society. No one really understands him. And he feels the guilt of a loved one he has wronged through his involvement with the mob. Ok this scene is just a verbatim remake from Goodfellas. Is that "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones? Jesus. This has passed the boundary of "tasteful allusion" into straight rip-off. A big issue that is never addressed is that your sleepy college town is a world away from the gritty streets of 1960's New York City, so the middle-aged women jogging with their baby strollers in the background kind of undercut the intensity of some of the gun fight scenes. The Green Screen director is clearly laughing at the lack of proper blood spray from the exit wound caused by the double barreled shotgun.
How did he get in this class? You thought this was for film majors only, but apparently Mr. Science Major wants to bang his arts elective out with this course. And it's clear he's never made a film of any kind before. The dissolve fade-outs are bad enough, but it's the jump cuts with the "boing" spring noise that are truly offensive. The whole project screams Windows Movie Maker, especially because all of the title screens (and there are a surprising amount of them) are all in papyrus font, scrolling horizontally across a light blue background.
Oh god the boom mic is in the shot again. It was kinda funny the first time but now it's just sad. There's clearly an outtake right in the middle of the film that the kid forgot to edit out. The actors and the lighting guy are just talking about what they did last weekend now. The director is asleep on her desk, probably from the rigors of staying up for four straight days to write, shoot, and edit a fifteen minute film. There's still the little watermark in the corner from the movie editing software she downloaded the free trial of, probably literally hours before this class. Overall, it's one of the better films.
But then there's the best film. Somehow, this class of failures and hacks was given the privilege of seeing your masterpiece. You're not full of yourself, but by god you know art when you see it and your short film captures the human spirit with its gritty, lifelike dialogue and breathtaking cinematography. You can feel the Oscar in your hand already. Hell, maybe you should submit this bad boy to the Academy. No sense in biding time, right? The kid next to you is on his phone the whole time, probably texting a friend that cinema as the world knows it is about to be altered forever. The lights come up and even though you made it, there's a tear in your eye from the sheer beauty of it. No one's clapping, but that's probably just because the moment hasn't sunk in yet. Even the TA mumbles "class dismissed" with a glazed, almost drunken look in his eye, surely over-imbibing on the spirits of the masterpiece you just bestowed on unworthy plebeians. God you are good at making film.