Jess Reviews: We Are One Film Festival

I have never been to a film festival before, but when I heard about the We Are One film festival, I knew I had to see what was up.

There are so many fantastic films up, and here are some of my favourite picks (along with a little review! Spoilers will be indicated) – I hope you enjoy.

Marooned

Unfortunately, Marooned has now been taken off YouTube. Here is the summary:

Stranded on an abandoned lunar outpost in the not-too-distant future, a cantankerous and selfish robot longs to return to Earth. With only a partially built ship and a single power source, the ’bot’s cranky character and mission will be put to the test in this stylish short, produced by DreamWorks Animation Studios.

We Are One Film Festival, Marooned

It was my favourite out of the three films listed in the ‘Annecy Shorts for Families’ – I immediately showed it to my mum and my brother.

It had a poignant storyline, and the use of body language was beautifully expressive; no words were exchanged throughout the whole film. DreamWorks is a famous animation studio for a reason!

It is relatively predictable – I and my brother guessed what would happen halfway through the film – but it was still an incredibly enjoyable animation.

***SPOILER ALERT***

My brother and I predicted that the old robot would allow the kid robot to use his power source and fly back to Earth. What made it really touching for me was how we watched the rocket blast off and approach Earth through his eyes, using the last remainder of his power. I nearly cried :’)

This really plays into the theme of sacrificing your own happiness for the next generation. The old robot was initially reluctant to let the kid pursue his dream because it was the same dream as the old robot – but in the end when he explained the plan, the kid was even more enthusiastic and driven than the old robot!

I also really liked the post-credits scene, when the old robot woke up to see the kid robot waving at him with a new box of batteries, so that they could both fly to Earth. I might be reading too much into this, but it made me realise that sometimes sacrificing your own happiness for your children might actually bring you happiness in the end.

***END OF SPOILER***

Ghost Fleet

This is a fascinating 360° film of a young Malaysian man recounting how he was sold into slavery upon a fishing boat, then how he escaped.

This harrowing look at slavery, injustice, and trauma in the Thai fishing industry is told through the true story of Tun Lin, a migrant worker who was kidnapped when he was 14 and forced to fish without pay as far away as the coast of Somalia. The piece immerses viewers in these ships and ports where Tun Lin was held captive for a decade at sea.

We Are One, Ghost Fleet

This film really made me think about where the fish we eat came from – slavery on fishing boats still happens today in the UK and the US. It is horrible what these men have to endure – losing fingers, legs, bones, even their lives.

It was also very well-filmed – filming in 360° is very different to conventional film. The object of interest has to be very obvious – or there cannot be one single object of interest and the whole scene is what must be viewed.

I also really liked how they used lines across the scene, for example when they were passing the fish: you could see first man passing the fish, and follow the line along to the destination. If you started off in the middle of the line of fish-passing, you could track it to either end. It was always clear what you were supposed to be focussing on.

This film taught me how important it is to ensure that what you consume is ethically produced.

Leon in Wintertime

A very cute animation series that follows a little bear boy called Leon and his adventures with Molly, a princess, and a couple of hedgehogs and an elephant.

It’s fairly predictable but absolutely perfect for families!

Some Films I Disliked

I am not going to lie, I did watch some films I disliked. The One-Minute Memoirs were a bit too aRtSy for me – I really enjoyed the animation styles, but they were a bit too self-indulgent and weird.

The last film I disliked was The Cats – I was expecting the twist all along, but the graphic depiction still came as a shock. I understand that it’s supposed to signify codependency and how people will still return to a relationship even if it’s bad for them, but I think it could have been portrayed more realistically, with more foreshadowing and less graphic shock factor. Don’t let the cute geometric animation style fool you.

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