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.
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