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By Mark Bell | September 8, 2012

On the run after robbing a general store, Oliver (Will Rhodes) finds himself lost in the desert where he comes across a band of gypsies that seem to not only know who he is, but also have a pocket watch of his. Following the gypsies as they move along, and hindered with a bloody cough, Oliver eventually comes to a small hut containing a fortune teller (Elizabeth Stenson) who sits down not to read his future, but to help him understand his past.

Meg Pinsonneault’s Feast of the Foolish is a good-looking short film. It is also one that, I’m not ashamed to say, I had to watch twice to reconcile my own questions about the narrative. While I now better understand what happened, I can’t say I’m completely convinced of the “why” things wind up meaning what they mean.

Confused? Yeah, I’m sorry about that, but some things are difficult to talk about in a review for a short film without, you know, revealing everything that happens in the short film. And I’d rather not do that in a review; I’d rather you saw the film rather than take my word for what happens, beyond the simple synopsis. So that being said, while I don’t think a film that challenges the viewer is a bad thing, and I like films that allow for multiple interpretations of events, this one left me a little cold.

I can’t deny the strength of the technical aspects of the filmmaking just because I found the narrative a bit too pessimistic and defeated for my tastes, however. The acting is solid; no one’s putting on a clinic on how to act, but they’re all more than capable of supplying what is required. The image looks good (though I would’ve preferred some tighter composition in some sequences), and the edit is at a comfortable pace; if you were to critique films solely on a technical checklist, Feast of the Foolish would easily get passing marks.

I guess, in the end, I was waiting for a catharsis of some sorts that never arrives; what happens and how it happens is a valid way of telling the tale, but I feel like I was left just short of something truly powerful. Again, I know what happened, but the interpretation and explanation of the “why” is one of those moments where you go, “okay, I get it, but what can I take away from this?” I’ll accept that it could be a failing on my part but the answer to the question, for me, was just too superficial.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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