Directed by: Chris Marker / John Hellberg
Starring: Davos Hanich, Hélène Chatelain, Jacques Ledoux / Stepháne Bertola, Gunnar Ernblad, Marienette Dahlin
John Hellberg’s Mousse — this year’s Best Short Film winner at the Twin Rivers Media Festival — is really more of a short feature (40 minutes) than a short, but it has a decidedly short film vibe. It takes a very simple situation and runs with it. An enigmatic and decidedly quirky Frenchman (Stephane Bertola) stages a hold-up at a Swedish betting parlor, taking its hookah-smoking owner (Roberto Gonzalez) and an argumentative customer (Marienette Dahlin) hostage. He then proceeds to make a list of pretty peculiar demands and insists that the largely retirement age police tell jokes while waiting for those demands to be met. Where this all leads is frequently surprising and always engaging. The climactic sequence is unexpectedly elaborate and ultimately rather moving. Performances are uniformly excellent. It’s really a very pleasant — and haunting — little movie that certainly deserves its win. I am, however, left with one question — are Swedish police really primarily comprised of septuagenarians?
The film is being shown with Chris Marker’s La Jetée, a review for which can be found here: http://avl.mx/tj
Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present La Jetée and Mousse Friday, May 10 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District, upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com
In Brief: Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962) has been shown by World Cinema before, so the real story here is the screening of this year’s winner for Best Short Film at Twin Rivers Media Festival, John Hellberg’s Mousse. This is a charming and quirky, fairly long (40 minutes) short that details a robbery gone wrong in ways that can scarcely be imagined. It’s all about what happens when a Frenchman named Mousse holds up a Swedish betting parlor on the biggest racing day of the year. He also happens upon the most conspicuously odd hostages he could hope for, an incredibly geriatric police force and a compatriot so drunk that he might be dead. Clever, amusing, well-made and more than a little surprising.