Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Short Film Showcase: Contact

2009
Dir. Jeremiah Kipp

Written and directed for the annual Sinister Six Festival in NYC, Contact stars Zoe Daelman Chlanda and Robb Leigh Davis as a young couple who, whilst experimenting with bizarre drugs, experience terrifying, mind-altering visions…

Sensual, dark, nauseating and highly unsettling, Jeremiah Kipp’s Contact may only run for 10 minutes, but the hallucinogenic impression it leaves with the viewer will echo for much, much longer. Opening with a quiet scene in which a middle aged couple lay their table for dinner and seem on edge as they expect their guest, the film immediately evokes the likes of Eraserhead in its representation of angst-ridden, queasy domesticity. Contact basks in an eerie glow from the outset and quickly sets the mood with an atmosphere sopped in dread.

Cutting to the main thrust of the narrative and left to wonder about the middle aged couple and their anticipated guest, we join Koreen and Westy as they venture into a desolate and bleak urban waste-scape to score a hit from the speaker of the film’s only line of dialogue – the androgynous and sinister Rowan (Alan Rowe Kelly). Returning to their apartment, the couple take the drugs and experience extreme hallucinations and paranoia – all nightmarishly realised by director Kipp’s wildly off-kilter imagination and stark cinematography courtesy of Dominick Sivilli.

The trippy visuals add to the bleak and nightmarish feel of the film, and seem intent on unhinging the audience as much as the increasingly paranoid characters. One truly shocking moment comes when Koreen believes she and Westy have become locked together by their own melding flesh as they kiss… The culmination of this experience results in an astoundingly graphic moment that will sear itself onto the retinas of all who catch a glimpse of this startling and bold excursion into the extremities of the fragile human consciousness.

Contact packs a truly visceral punch whilst still maintaining a sharp cerebral edge that is guaranteed to affect its audience - in much the same way that only the likes of early Cronenberg really can.

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