Micro-short seems like a pretty self-explanatory term, right?...
...Filmmaker’s flash fiction, essentially. So how much time do you really need to tell an effective story? The answer of course depends on who’s doing the telling, and the Fatale Collective—emerging female directors Lola Blanc, Francesca Maldonado, Danin Jacquay, Linda Chen, Natasha Halevi, and Megan Rosati—prove themselves master storytellers.
Bleed--a collection of micro-shorts from the Fatale Collective, which played at the Chattanooga Film Fest this weekend--as a whole spotlights the violently consumption-centric experience that is being a woman, each individual director armed with their unique scalpel to peel away the veneer. From less-than-friendly gatherings to Internet controlled beauty standards, these women came to show their teeth.
Lola Blanc’s opening short “Safe Space” sets the precedent that the stories we’re about to be shown are gruesome shards of reality women experience every day, though they may not always be able to articulate them. One of the greatest real-life horror’s is social isolation and ridicule, and women face it every day, often from each other. Blanc flays the veneer from polite dinner conversation to reveal its twisted, bloody truth. As someone from the South just let me say, “Safe Space” is what “bless your heart” feels like.
Francesca Maldonado’s “Buffalo Bill” is a sinister offering indeed, a tale whole feature-length films have told time and again, boiled down to its essential bones. Sometimes, people want to be liked so badly they’ll go to unimaginable lengths to be accepted. Maldonado will have you locking down your social media and looking over your shoulder in two minutes or less.
Danin Jacquay’s “Subscribe” literally dismembers the sticky saccharine beauty standards imposed on women by women, particularly by social media and the landmine field of influencer culture. I’ve never seen it portrayed before, but this is what it feels like to watch some of these tutorials. Language designed to make you feel just the slightest bit pressured to do more, maniacal laughter implied. The desired goal is impossible to attain without tearing yourself apart, even just a little. Social beauty standards taken to their logical and bloody extreme. Don’t you wanna look flawless?
Linda Chen’s “Panoptia” is an especially poignant offering of the consumptive nature of being a woman. One ever-watchful eye perched on a jogger’s body until, ripped mercilessly from her shoulders, it is absorbed into something larger and more sinister. Some beast with a thousand eyes; something that’s been ripping away hundreds of other women’s terrified eyes from their own bodies. No dialogue, but a message as clear and intimately familiar as your own gut feeling. Next time your friend goes for a jog, ask her why she only keeps one headphone in. The story will go a little something like this.
Natasha Halevi’s “Boxed” was my initial favorite, though I’ve discovered it is nearly impossible to stop thinking about any single Bleed story. A young woman, moving into a place on her own, has her things brought in by a couple of somewhat leery moving men who warn her she should “really get some curtains up”. But, lo, if you think you know where this story is going, believe me, you don’t. Or…do you? Something wicked lurks in Jane’s freshly dropped off boxes, and, wait…was that one there before? Jane’s transition from individual to unnamed mystery is at once the most ambiguous and possibly the most sinister offering on hand. It’s always scary moving out on your own…
Megan Rosati’s “ASMR” slithers with whispers that lull you into comfort then turn on you with bite so sharp there’s no escaping them. The voices we all hear at one time or another telling us we’re not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough to be deserving of love. And she’s right, you know…no matter what we do to get away from them, even if it means robbing ourselves of some essential part, they’re always there…somewhere…waiting to strike again.
Bleed is an absolutely stellar collection of women telling the darker sides of women’s stories, giving the world a peek into some of our deepest darkest fears, all while reminding us that we can be just as violent and dangerous to one another and ourselves as anything we’ve been conditioned to fear from the rest of the world. I’ve always been a proponent of letting women tell their stories, and Bleed is a beautifully stomach-turning example of what happens when we let them tell it how they want, no matter how dark it gets. Being pretty isn’t pretty, and you can’t spell pretty without prey.
By Katelyn Nelson
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