Let’s be honest here: no one likes hipsters. They clog up your favorite non-corporate coffee shops with their giant headphones, skinny pants, scruffy beards and pathetic attempts at writing in public. In fact, I’d venture to say not even hipsters like other hipsters and until there’s empirical evidence pointing to the contrary, I’m sticking by that assessment.
That being said, I still feel sorry for hipsters in that they’re low-hanging fruit in terms of people easy to poke fun at, so as Rory Bradley and Liz Levitt-Bradley’s short film “El Caffinato” started by keying into prototypical hipsters populating a coffee shop, I feared the worst. But about fifteen seconds into the short something cool happened: It became a musical!
A techno type beat sounded and twee keyboard sounds jump aboard as one by one each hipster around the coffee shop is given a chance to sing a line or two introducing their personae before we focus in on the two main characters. We meet Pepper (Emily Frachtling), a self-absorbed tattooed barista, and Milo (Zachary Davidson), a lovelorn customer who keeps hopelessly trying to get her attention through a mix-tape he’s made of his songs. But wait, this short film becomes even more clever as it takes on a classic western motif when local ne’er do well and persona non grata “Dusky” Dan Digby (Aiden Dale) returns to the small coffee shop to wreak havoc on the douchey hipsters inside. He has his sights set on Pepper and Miles needs to step up or back off. Did I mention this is all done in song?
“El Caffinato” is a very cool short. It’s shot extremely well and the sheer amount of creativity that must have gone into this 12-minute mini-musical is impressive. While I’ll admit I found the acting a tad stiff and the songs a bit silly and on the nose, I still really enjoyed this film and respect what the filmmakers have accomplished. They took a simple location, populated it with characters we all recognize and then turn the whole thing on its head by turning the film into a musical. As I said, the strongest areas for the film are the camera work, direction, lighting and editing but overall it would be next to impossible to not give yourself over to a fun and creative short film that must have been a royal pain to plan, shoot and edit.
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