short films

Shorts on our list: Before ‘Sicario’ and ‘Arrival’, Denis Villeneuve made this film in 1994

‘REW-FFWD’ is a nightmarish exploration of culture shock set in Jaimaica.

For fledgling filmmakers, short films serve as calling cards. For established filmmakers, shorts serve as a break between projects, or perhaps something to do as they seek funding for a planned future film. In 2015, director Sujoy Ghosh released Ahalya, his first film since Kahaani (2012).

Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve made only four films between 1998 and 2010, but he has since proceeded to work non-stop over the last few years. Villeneuve first came to mainstream notice in 2010 with Incendies, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2013, he made Prisoners and Enemy, both starring Jake Gyllenhaall. In 2015, he directed the drug smuggling thriller Sicario. The science fiction film Arrival, which was premiered at the Venice Film Festival, is being released in India on November 25. Villeneuve will also helm the prestigious sequel to the Ridley Scott classic Blade Runner.

Although Villenueve’s films are firmly embedded in genre, they have a strong edge of realism. Villenueve’s docu-drama style is firmly in evidence in REW-FFWD (1994), one of his early works produced by the National Film Board of Canada and referred to as a “pyscho-drama” by one of the characters in the film.

“You are the protagonist of a broken down road movie,” an unnamed voice, who identifies himself as a psychiatrist-mechanic, tells the photographer protagonist of REW-FFWD. A black box has “digitally recorded every move, every thought, every breath, everything” from the photographer’s trip to Kingston, Jamaica, on an assignment. On the front of the box are four buttons. “Let’s push play,” the psychiatrist tells photographer.

The rest of the film uses found footage format and is told from the main character’s point of view. Scenes are played out of order to create confusion for viewers as they follow the photographer’s journey into an alien word. What begins as culture shock slowly gives way to understanding.

The film was shot on location and features what appear to be real interviews with reggae musicians such as Massive Dread. There is also a brief interlude where a local academic explains the role of family in Jamaican society. The short film’s eerie, nightmarish quality makes for an uneasy viewing experience.


“I started alone with a camera,” Villeneuve told British pop culture website Den of Geek about his early career. “I made a few dozen small documentaries, and that was the birth of a way to approach reality with a camera. After that, my first films were really like sketches for me. They have some qualities, but they also have a lot of faults. I was not a good screenwriter at the beginning – I needed to learn more. I stopped for a few years, saying to myself, ‘I will go back to cinema when I’m able to better control my ideas.”

Villenueve went on to contribute Le Technétium to the anthology film Cosmos (1996), a showcase of Canadian filmmakers. Two years later, he made his feature film debut with August 32nd on Earth. Both films were Canada’s entry to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The cinema of Denis Villeneuve.
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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.