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Movie Review: A Very Sunny Morning

A Very Sunny Morning by Eric Carter, which you can watch below, is a short film of several different styles, which is exceptionally risky for a short. With a feature, if a serious dramatic shift starts sending the movie south, an audience is much more forgiving that it may eventually bounce back. But with a short film, there’s such a minimum amount of time that a filmmaker has to getting his point across, that it’s much easier to tune out and give up.

This particular short film starts out with a brilliant opening sequence, crafted in what’s become known now as 24-style, i.e. multiple frames on the screen at the same time ala the Kiefer Sutherland TV show, even though the idea of split screen action is an old avant garde film trick. Although instead of terrorist attacks being shown from several different angles simultaneously, we’re treated to breakfast being made. The music is nice and soothing, the visuals are inventive, so you settle in assuming this will be the entire film, especially since the action goes on for quite awhile.

But then, there’s a sudden shift in the film from experimental to a somewhat traditional goofy romantic slapstick, of which in short films there’s almost nothing worse. It’s a big risk to take. There’s really nothing to ground us with the two leads, either a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend team trying to amuse each other, so that you’re just waiting for the plot to finally make it’s appearance. And, oh boy, when it does, the film spins into high gear for a truly bizarre ride.

At this point though, it’s almost not worth it to explain much more of the film in detail because most of the fun is not knowing what to expect next. As I said, infusing a short film with a stark shift in styles is usually a drawback, but instead Carter makes that the entire reason of his film and works it very successfully. And without giving too much away, the real centerpiece of the short is one of those standard “dream loops” that Carter hilariously riffs on. It’s a great mini-sequence in a film made up of very unique chunks.

And yet, as wildly different parts of the film are, Carter does hold the entire thing together with really great cinematography. Again, just like there are different genre jumps, there are different video style jumps to accompany them– from really crisp and clear images to washed out and grainy. Yet, every shot has similar feelings of detachment, distance and disorientation, so that it all bonds together nicely. Even though the camera angles chosen may be disorienting, when the film shifts from one tone to the next, it’s not dizzying at all. Piled on top of each other, scenes do flow into one another, since they all operate from the same emotional tenor.

You can, of course, experience the film yourself right now. But you have two choices. One is to view the film in two parts on YouTube. The film’s length of almost 12 minutes means Carter was forced to upload in two parts, since YouTube’s limit is, I believe, 10 minutes at a time. (Carter also breaks the film up at a perfect point about halfway through.) Or, you can visit the film’s MySpace page and find the high quality Quicktime download, which I suggest doing if you have the time. It’s how I watched the film the first time and the video quality just beats YouTube all to Hell. But I do suggest watching in either form. It’s great fun.

More on this film: Movie Site

Watch A Very Sunny Morning, Part 1:

Watch A Very Sunny Morning, Part 2:


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