Stephen Dest’s short film is set in the late 1970s and focuses on a longhaired, suburban slacker teenager whose fortysomething father dies on Easter Sunday. The film follows the young man’s shaky relation with his father before the death (the older man is mostly off-screen or turned away from the camera) and after the death (where the teen, lying in his bed, has a Hamlet-worthy conversation with the off-screen ghost of his departed dad). In between, the teen comes of age with the help of an oversexed young lady who attended the father’s wake.
Dest’s film – which has been kicking around the festival circuit and recently turned up on the new CTShorts.com website – defies the connect-the-dots approach to filmmaking by keeping his protagonist in his state of perpetual immaturity, despite the events that swirl around him. (One brief segment has the teen happily recalling how his mother found him masturbating in his room.) It is a daring view of an imperfect person, and shooting the film in Super 8 (with intentionally grainy visuals and less-than-pristine sound quality) helps to capture the warped vibe of the late 1970s.