Sunday, June 16, 2019

Street Ships (2019) Dances With FIlms 2019

STREET SHIPS disappointed me. This is a film that is so far up my alley that I’m surprised that I didn’t think of it first. Unfortunately it misses the emotional mark by a mile.

The film is the story of two best friends, a young boy and a young girl who live next to each other and share a wild imaginative world. It is a kinship that lasts into young adult hood when the boy’s father get sick and he is forced into an uncaring reality. It is left to his best friend to save him.

As someone who refuses to grow up and refuses to see the world as it is this is a film that I should have eaten up. I should have been a complete and utter ball of mush at the end, no by the middle, but I just sat there staring at the screen wondering why I wasn’t moved. It took a while to sus it out but I have figured it out.

The first problem is that it isn’t instantly clear that the two leads are neighbors and not brother and sister. The first shot looks like balloons on either side of a drive way announcing the birth of two children. I had to watch the film a second time to see the location was not a driveway but two sidewalks. Even then it isn’t entirely clear. The second and more serious problem is that there is no dialog in the film. It’s all image and music. While this attempt at a variation on the beginning of UP might have worked with a little more clarity, it doesn’t work because too much is left unsaid and we have to fill in too many details. The fifteen minute running time is too long to be wordless, at least according to how this story unfolds.

While I am not a fan of this version of the story Honestly I would love to see it redone either as a short or feature (with dialog)

STREET SHIPS plays this afternoon at Dances With Films. For more information and tickets go here.

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