By Don R. Lewis | December 20, 2005

David Appelbaum’s “Adios Papitas Fritas” has quite a bit going on within it’s 14 minutes. In fact it manages to cover the entire first part of a most unfortunate man’s life. Included are the emotionally painful death of his parents, crushing self loathing, working street corners for cash and an odd, yet sweet turnaround that you don’t see coming. The short film succeeds in creating a nuanced story stuffed with terrific subtext and a clear yet stylish look. Appelbaum has a great eye. While I admired the film and really enjoyed it, some of the design elements didn’t quite work for me. Specifically, the voice of the narrator and the frequent use of the song “Girl From Ipanema.”

The narrator on this short has a pleasing, easy sounding voice. He’d be ideal for a lighter film or even some kind of children’s film. However, the character he’s speaking for appears to be hispanic and really screwed up inside. I didn’t feel the quirky voice matched the actor or the drama it was portraying. I also really like the song “Girl From Ipanema,” yet I didn’t feel it served the purpose it was meant to; that of a recurring theme in the main characters life. The film does a great job using other recurring elements throughout with great success (namely the titled “Papitas Fritas”), but that song is so light and airy, it just didn’t work for the darker scenes.

Quibbles aside, “Adios Papitas Fritas” is an intriguing little film. The acting is really good and very interesting. Both actors need to be both damaged yet likeable at the same time..and they are. As a writer and director, Appelbaum isn’t afraid to dive into looking at a situation through the physical, mental and psychological effects it might have on a person. All apologies for being vague about what’s going on in the plot, but at a nicely paced 14 minutes, you should see this short rather than have me tell you what happens.

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