Short Film/Video Art

Today we are looking at the relationship/differences between short film and video art.

A good short film includes the audience. It makes the viewer create a person  opinion on the character maybe even go as far as care and make a relationship with the character.

In class we were shown a number of short films and asked our opinion on them. The first film was called  ‘Useless Dog’

This five minute film is about a farmer talking about his dog, how it is stupid or ‘useless’ and how he is fond of his dog regardless.  The music in the film is quite upbeat and light hearted and the opening shot is at “dog level”  the audience gets up close and personal with the main character (which in this case is the dog.) the shots of the dog going about its playful everyday business helps the audience quickly form a relationship with the dog. When the commentary from the dog’s owner starts the audience see’s a close up of the owner in his own everyday surroundings, the audience only see’s the man’s face on screen and due to the shot, the simple/loving nature the owner speaks about his four legged companion it is easy for the audience to feel the emotion of this man’s love for his useless dog.  The use of close ups, sound, language, animals and light hearted humour really help the audience identify with the film and make it memorable.

Another short film the class watched was called Fisticuffs . what happened in this short film shows a series of fights between people in a pub which is repeated through the whole of the film, during which the other people in the pub take no notice to the ciaos and destruction which is being caused due to the violence around them. The message in this short film is about the  Irish drinking culture, how drunken violence is normalised. The film shows alot or repetition because no matter what the main character does he always ends up in a fight. The fight scene is the entire film, some bits of the film are enactments’ of fight scenes in other films. What makes the film memorable is the violence and destruction but it left the audience wondering what the message was and somewhat bored as the same thing was happening for so long. It could be argued that the very point of the long dragged out repetition of the scene is to show that this type of thing keeps happening in everyday life but we choose to ignore it.

Short films must be carefully planned through storyboards etc. The film must capture the audience and distribute its message in a certain way.

Video Art is something that does not have a narrative, the message may not necessarily be the first thing you think it is. The director chooses what is seen and what message is to be shown or even kept hidden. Video art is more about the visual than the narrative, how emotion is created visually not by sound. Also video are is about skills, how the video is edited, shot etc.

Willie Doherty is one of Northern Ireland’s best documentary photographers . He witnessed bloody Sunday as a child and various other atrocities during the Troubles. Growing up he felt that things that were being documented in history may not be the truth and other things that should be documented where not being documented at all. Doherty took it upon himself to document what was going on. Alot of his early work is about absence, he took still images of unapproved roads to support this.


Willie Doherty work hits the emotional level as he is creating art on such a topic as The Troubles in Northern Ireland, what makes it so powerful is the fact he is from Northern Ireland himself. He has a firsthand experience on what was going on in the country at the time. Doherty brings the emotion to such a high level  he can capture the audience and make them really think about the atrocities which have happened in such a small country using firsthand experience  and people who have witnessed certain events. For example Willie Doherty unseen, a moving image of a burning car with a voice over  of people who have been kneecapped by paramilitaries’.  This type of work really plays with the emotions from the audience, someone sharing their memories of something horrific that has happened to them.

One of Doherty’s most famous pieces is called re-run it is a moving image shot on two screens. It is of a man running in each direction this is why there are two screens for each direction. The audience can see a close up of the man’s face they can see his facial expression the look of anguish and fear.






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