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HollyShorts 2016: #40 Block – Film Reviews

The curiously named #40 block on the final day of HollyShorts had some very interesting film in its lineup. With several great films in this block, it’s time to take a good look at a very diverse film line-up.

The Art of Riding Low

The culture of cars for the Latin and Chicano community has become synonymous with the low-rider car. A culture of fun-loving auto fanatics have made themselves a new style of vehicle with the advent of the low-rider. The style has become a well-known staple of the Latin community, especially during its advent in Eastern Los Angeles. This film focuses on some of the early adopters and pioneers of the movements, the progression of the culture, the infiltration of gang violence into the community, and those who just wanted to have fun.

A film by Bo Sejerce Johnson, this is a great look into a unique culture that doesn’t get a lot of spotlight.

Two Bellmen Two

Despite the fact that it’s basically a long ad for the J.W. Marriott Hotels, Two Bellmen Two is a fun and action-filled adventure about two Marriott Dubai bellmen who have to recover a USB drive that was left in the back of a car. It’s kind of a ridiculous concept, but the cast and crew look to be having a great time. It’s pretty well paced and has tons of great action sequences.

Directed by Daniel Malakai Cabrera, it’s wacky but really enjoyable, especially the parkour and stunt work.

The Gravedigger’s Daughter

A moving film out of Israel, this story focuses on a family who lost their father. In his will and testament, the father asked to have one of his children take over his job as a grave digger at the local cemetery. Despite the rules that fall around their religion, the young Esti wants to follow in her father’s footsteps. This is a bit of a problem due to the traditions of the Jewish culture, but despite that, Esti does so anyway, leading to an exciting turn of events that force those around her to question the rules they’ve followed for so long.

Directed by Shira Gabay, it’s a great look into the life of those in Israel, and the life of a family who needed support.

American Virgin

This Tamzin Merchant film focuses on a young girl who needs to find a way to follow her dream into the Julliard Music Conservatory. The problem is, she’s short on money to take a trip down to the Conservatory, and despite not having much to sell, decides to find a way to get the money. To do so, she tries to sell the one thing that she has: her virginity.

While not always the most comfortable, it’s a great look into those who will do what it takes to follow their dreams. It also has a great twist at the end that is pretty interesting.

Honey and the Hive

The story of an adopted child and her family takes on a very interesting visual ideal when a young girl’s English-speaking grandmother shows her the family’s beehives. This takes some weird turns, but the imaginative and stunning visuals are really great, and a wonderful look at the world through the eyes of a child.

Directed by Austin Alward, it’s not the easiest to follow film, but it was visually terrific and a wonderfully imaginative piece of art.

Hut Hut

A look into life in rural America, it’s also a great tale of a young boy who befriends a mentally challenged man and shows the value of bonding and the ability to care for those different that you. While it has some really rough parts, it’s a touching tale that brings some really beautiful moments to light.

Directed by Michael Allmon and Courtney Sandifer, its a great look at the forgiveness of others, even when it’s not always deserved.

Hello Again

One of the most touching tales in a series of them, Hello Again focuses on the life of a young man who is still struggling with the loss of his wife. Despite the time that has passed, her death seems to absolutely haunt him still, and until he meets someone while shopping for a party, it seems as if things are going to continue down his painful path. While the night between he and his new ladyfriend doesn’t go particularly well, he does seem to find a connection with someone, despite the pain he still feels. It’s a very sad film but shows the true impact of others on our lives and the hole their loss leaves in those who are still left.

An Alonzo Smith, Jr. and Alex Smith film, it’s a gorgeous and touching tale of love, loss, and finding hope again.


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