‘Occupational Hazards, a Group of Shorts’: Film Reviews

- September 17, 2012

"...there’s surely a film here one can greatly relate to"

This blog is written on behalf of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and will serve as an honest, unbiased review of a few films that will be screening this year. Hopefully, these reviews will inspire conversation and discussion amongst other viewers and encourage the overall appreciation and dissection of this art we call film.

“Occupational Hazards” are a group of shorts that all take place at our “second home”...our job. There’s endless possibilities of the mess one can get into while on the payroll and this year’s Santa Fe IFF selections channel through all of them, swinging from comedy to drama to documentary, there’s surely a film here one can greatly relate to.

“The Immigrant” is a short comedy about Canadian “has-been” Bob London who attempts a comeback to Hollywood by contacting those he last knew, including Margaret Cho, Will Forte of SNL, and Michael Cera, all of which turn him away without hesitation. It’s a witty look on heavy social issues such as immigration and unemployment without ever drowning you in the stress that usually accompanies those looks. Instead, we get to see how one makes it in America through the eyes of a man who comes from further up north, something that’s not really heard  of, especially not here in New Mexico.

Going along with the “Occupational Hazards” theme comes “Paraiso”, a documentary short running roughly ten minutes, that studies the lives of three men who clean windows for a living in Chicago. Perfectly contrasting “The Immigrant”, “Paraiso” is the true story behind the working latinos the comedy was mocking, allowing the audience to soak in 10 minutes of their lives. We see them casually talking about the possibility of dying every day they work, in hopes that they’ll be financially secure if the worse was to come to their family. Nadav Kurtz perfectly captures that danger of their jobs but never handing the audience over to fear but rather having us question, “what would our own paradise be like?”

Paraíso Trailer from Nadav Kurtz on Vimeo.

Let’s step away from the current issues of our day and step into “The Op Shop”, a perfect comedy about the slow discovery of the wonders of a certain mysterious object three elderly women come upon. Lee Rogers gives us a simple comedy, one that’s not too talky, by any means, leaving us laughing at our own guess at the miracles it seems to be performing on all of whom take it home. 

In the same lighthearted attitude, comes “Special Delivery”, another short comedy that doesn’t need dialogue to explain the simple mess this mailman has managed to get himself into and no quick solution. One can immediately relate with the stupidity of this certain mailman for we have all committed a crime against our IQ at times, especially while at work. “Special Delivery” is the universal tale that gives us a pat on the back for not doing what this man does. An effective comedy that fits loads of comedy into just five minutes, truly a job well done by Director Graham Lester George.

Salvador Hernandez is a Texas native, studying under the MOV Department at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design since 2011. He is a current volunteer for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Hernandez works on his own independent projects to gain more experience when not studying or volunteering. The purpose of this blog is to unite film enthusiasts via the web to inspire conversation and to dissect the purpose and message of the short films screening in this year’s festival.