Retribution captured from multifaceted lens

From angry cows to banana peels becoming the bane of people’s existence, revenge is the name of the game for this year’s M60 film festival. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the event, M60 is a Montreal based film festival which showcases 60-second productions from the creative lens of filmmakers of all styles and backgrounds. With movie makers being accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis, expect to see a wide variety of films which include the good, the bad, the hilarious and the cheesy. This year’s multilingual festival features a grand total of 98 films, all which revolve around the theme of revenge through multiple points of view that include humans as well as animals.

Take for instance Greg Bailey and Mary Perchanok’s Angry Cows which features exactly that – bovines unleashing their wrath on humans for eating hamburgers. Through the heightened music and comical animation, hilarity ensues when cows recklessly attack humans and later make “handburgers” out of them. In the stand-out feature, A Sting In The Tail, an entire frame is shot as a worker bee fornicating with a queen bee. Two girls are heard in voice-over gossiping about a bad lover and suggesting to go “David Suzuki” on him by creating a sex tape to exploit his incompetent nature. Cuteness is achieved in Aladog where a dog is seen rubbing a lamp and getting retribution by having his wish of “chasing Nyan cat” granted by a genie with a stylish flair.

Though violence and blood are normally common motifs that convey the theme of revenge, in M60 they are overshadowed by a variety of other forms that are explored. Take for example the “fantasy form” which is played out in the somewhat cheesy film of Banana Split. In this feature, a man is seeking vengeance on a banana that has caused his fallout, rendering him bandaged from head to toe. While, in Papa Fairy, an inanimate pink-haired doll comes to life and gets even with its owner through violence. Versatility of the cinematography is incorporated into the film with the use of close-up shots, fade outs and impeccable framing, all which highlight the raw talents of power duo Socorro and Rousseau.

While some films encapsulate the ingenuity behind a 60-second spectacle, others lack coherency and a sense of plot. In Vengeance, a single frame is used to depict a girl looking around inquisitively and, within the last five seconds, an egg is abruptly thrown at her. Another case in point is The 52 Steps. Filmed using a camera phone, a man walks barefoot down a flight of stairs while repeatedly saying “oww” after every step down he takes. Absurd.

From documentary style, to film noir, a variety of styles are employed in the films. A favourite is A Peek Behind the Spray Can, which is a parody of Banksy’s acclaimed documentary Exit through the Gift Shop. Filmed like a documentary, A Peek Behind the Spray Can plays out  revenge a reticent old woman gets as she throws a bucket of water on the graffiti artist for vandalizing her property. The landscape shots of the street art on St. Laurent Blvd. was a nice touch to add to the film, in addition to memorable performances given by the actors. Another stand-out film is Collar on Collar which features an offbeat performance by a Polish man who explains his sartorial choice of wearing two collars and not caring to seek revenge on others who emulate his style, as he utters hilariously candid remarks.

Overall, M60 contained a mishmash of highly entertaining and insightful films as well as some mundane ones. Where some films lacked coherence, others gained in brilliance. What you get is what you see.

Montreal’s littlest film festival, M60, takes place at Cinéma Excentris from Sept. 19 to 22 at 9 p.m.


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