This is one of the more esoteric entries in the Experimental Short category at the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival. It’s not bad, not by a long shot, but I’m not sure it was my thing. It makes the mistake that a lot of shorts make where they have a bit of a twist at the end and work backwards from there. Not one of those “Twist Ending™” endings mind you; not like the ones that M. Night Shyamalan has ruined for everyone else who ever wanted to surprise their audience, nothing so clichéd and Twilight Zone-ish. No, just a twist, a tiny and subtle one, the way they were always meant to be.
I have to give it props for audacity though. Making movies is an exercise in being fearless and just going for it, regardless of what people will think. In this sense Coral certainly fits the bill. Did I like it? No. Do I think it was any good? Maybe. The two are not the same thing after all.
Just because I like something hardly means that it’s a masterpiece, and vice versa. I’m a huge fan of Up the Creek for example, I think it’s the funniest movie ever made. However, I doubt anyone shares this view. In the same vein, I kind of don’t like Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. I can see it for the brilliant film that it is, and one day I may change my mind, but it just doesn’t speak to me.
The Coral Reefs are Dreaming Again is one of those films that doesn’t speak to me. It’s too artsy-fartsy for my taste. It feels like it should be playing at Andy Warhol’s Factory in 1967 with an audience consisting entirely of French guys in berets. This is not a bad thing, mind you. I’m sure this description appeals to a bunch of people out there, as it should. Mine is not the only opinion out there, nor should it be. My opinion, though, is not a fan.
That said, I can appreciate the work that went into it, and it does have it’s moments where it’s clever and interesting. Corals wax poetic about the nature of their existence, and we see at the end that they’re not being as metaphorical as we may think they are. It’s all set up nicely, and it certainly is very pretty to look at. I can’t find fault in the execution. The filmmakers did exactly what they set out to do.
That this did not please my sense of taste and did not fit my criteria for what I consider to be a good film is irrelevant. Besides, you can never really go wrong when you try to be too artistic anyway. The worst you can do is not please everyone, and I just happen to be on the losing end of this deal. That’s fine by me. It’s the way things are supposed to be. I’m sure there are people would be very pleased by it, and could wax poetic about it’s qualities. Everything balances itself out in the end, like some sort of Cinema Zen.