Sunday, April 3, 2011

DVDebut: COME UNDONE and the 4-minute, whoppingly funny short accompanying it: Daniel Nocke's 12 YEARS

If you are surprised that TrustMovies is posting yet again about a film --Silvio Soldini's COME UNDONE -- he found only mildly satisfying when he covered its theatrical release last year (his review is here), this is entirely due to the three-and-one-half-minute short subject that accompanies the film. If you are familiar with the movie's U.S. distributor Film Movement, you'll know that each of the twelve films per year that this company releases -- to its film-of-the-month-club members, sometime into theaters and eventually onto DVD -- has a short subject  (documentary or narrative, lengthy or very brief, live-action or animated) that accompanies the film itself. (These shorts, unfortunately, do not accompany the movie at its theatrical release.)

Generally speaking, as good as are many of the short films, they play a distant second fiddle to the feature film they accompany. Not this time. I just watched once again the delightful and original short written and directed by German filmmaker Daniel Nocke and I can verify that 12 YEARS (12 Jahre) does indeed play first violin to Come Undone's not-so-subtle cymbals-smash. In some sort of combination of reality and animation that I am not at all sure how to describe or achieve, Mr. Nocke gives us dogs at dinner (in quite the fine restaurant, too) with her (above) in the process of being dumped by him. And what an actress this dog is: Meryl must be alternately kvetching and kvelling. (The dog's dialog has been dubbed into English and the lip-synch is lovely.) Oh, yes - and there's music by Gershwin.

In just two-and-one-half minutes (there's one whole minute of credits, of course), Nocke takes us so pointedly and economically through infidelity, adultery, mis-matched couples and all the weeping and wailing, the Sturm und Drang, the oy, gevalt! that Signore Soldini's movie offers -- but in maybe 1/50th of the time. Ah, brevity! And it is hilarious. Viewing this short, as we did, immediately after watching the Italian film, seemed perfect timing, so I suggest you do the same.

You can purchase the DVD from Film Movement or Amazon -- or rent it via NetflixGreenCine or B-buster. You can also find the short on YouTube, here. But watching it just after viewing Come Undone gives it added frisson and an even headier effect. In any case, whatever you do, don't miss it.

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