The Slamdance Film Festival has a “shorts” program which many film festivals have. Slamdance, however, utilizes these films prior to screening the feature film which is a wonderful way to introduce and set the mood for the upcoming film. The standout short film this year, to this reviewer, is ONE PLEASE by Jesse Burks.
What a sweet, serene beginning of this 6-minute short film as the loving mother chops vegetables for dinner and the father sits comfortably in his chair, reading the paper. It’s a beautiful summer day with the sun shining and a little girl jumps rope. And we all remember the excitement in a child’s eyes when the ice cream truck plays its music, rolling slowly through the neighborhood. But excitement isn’t what we see in her eyes. There’s something very uneasy about her gaze. We soon find out exactly what that uneasy look is all about.
ONE PLEASE has not a word spoken unless you count a hiss. But a word isn’t needed as the non-verbal communication, colors, and cinematography combine flawlessly to convey everything that is needed. In six short minutes an entire story portraying what we parents will do for our children to make them happy unfolds before us. The special effects are quite believable and almost too real to watch. But that just adds to the dark and twisted nature of this rather beautiful short. How can it be beautiful? The use of color is sharp and bold, just as the movie. It's appealing to the eye along with great camera angles which are unique and help to make this contrast of feelings. On the one hand (pun intended...you'll see), it’s beautiful and on the other it’s quite unsettling!
Although no lines were memorized and delivered, the cast’s performance was impeccable. The expressions ranged from sweet and loving to eerie and foreboding all within a moment. The little girl was disturbingly perfect, reminding us of by-gone Twilight Zone episodes. The sound effects or perhaps I should say, the sound accentuations, were utilized to draw your attention to the very important details within the film. ONE PLEASE finds a way to use every aspect of movie making to give us a vision you won’t soon forget.
As with last year’s stand out short film JOSEPHINE AND THE ROACH, this year we are lucky to have ONE PLEASE. Check back for an in-depth interview with the filmmaker to give you, the viewer, even more insight to this film. I will also update you when you can see this short for yourself!