Then you get some that are just mean-spirited, dull-witted gorefests, which can be diverting but also not worth sharing with my audience. It’s very rare that I watch a submitted short film and fall immediately in love with it, but that’s what happened with Oren Shai’s Condemned.
Like The Ghosts, the short I shared with you earlier this week, Condemned doesn’t go to the usual well of modern film student inspiration but instead has an almost Tarantino-esque melting pot thing going on. But it’s only Tarantino-esque in the way that it brings together influences as disparate as women in prison films and Douglas Sirk, not in any other formal way.
Shai’s film, shot on 16mm, has a deep sensuality of color and shadow, and the film has a deliberate pacing that’s all about building an atmosphere and a tone. Narratively Condemned is slight, but cinematically it’s rich.